Florida Expands “Don’t Say Gay” Law for All School Grades

Florida Expands “Don’t Say Gay” Law for All School Grades

Yacob Reyes for Axios reports that the Florida Board of Education approved arule Wednesday barring the state’s public school teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students up to 12th grade, an expansion of a previous law that prohibited LGBTQ-related discussion until third grade. The only exception is for subject matter required by existing state standards or included as part of reproductive health instruction. With this new rule, state officials shifted their messaging from “anti-grooming” to “providing clarity for teachers.” The Associated Press also covered this development, reporting that a bill passed the Florida House on the same day making it a felony to provide gender-affirming health care to transgender minors. Hundreds of students across Florida have planned walkouts today.

A Christian’s Thoughts on the Problem of Christian Nationalism

Bill McKibben for The New Yorker writes about the wave of Christian nationalism currently gripping sectors of the right, citing research from thePRRI/Brookings study which finds that around a third of Americans are adherents of or are sympathetic to a political creed that holds that “God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society,” and that more than half of Republicans support such ideas. McKibben emphasizes that leaders have molded to fit this movement, noting that in 2020, white evangelicals were eight times as likely to say that Donald Trump had helped their cause than hurt it, while Ron DeSantis is increasingly using Biblical references in his speeches. McKibben calls on Christian faith leaders to respond to this movement, since, as the PRRI/Brookings study found, Christian nationalists are significantly more likely to be connected to churches and to say religion is important to their lives than other Americans.

Top GOP Lawyer Decries Ease of Campus Voting in Private Pitch to RNC

Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner for The Washington Post report that a top Republican legal strategist, Cleta Mitchell, told a roomful of GOP donors over the weekend that conservatives must band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration, voting by mail, and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters. Mitchell, a “longtime GOP lawyer and fundraiser” who worked to overturn the 2020 presidential election, presented these ideas to the Republican National Committee donor retreat last weekend. Mitchell has ties to the NRA, former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. PRRI research finds that 85% of Republicans saying ineligible people casting votes is the bigger problem and 83% of Democrats saying eligible voters being denied the right to vote is the bigger problem.

The Influences of Public Opinion and Party Power on Anti-LGBTQ Bills

PRRI Public Fellow Andrew Flores, Ph.D., writes in our latest Spotlight Analysis on how the latest series of LGBTQ bills have gone beyond educationand transgender rights. In Tennessee, drag performances have been criminalized, which Flores explains could not only restrict drag venues and performers but possibly also constrain some transgender people from going about their day-to-day lives. Flores uses a model that looks at the number of proposed bills in a given state while taking into account partisan control of thatstate and statewide support for LGBTQ rights based on the PRRI AmericanValues Atlas. Flores points to policy diffusion, which is the idea that policy innovations in one state can inspire nearby and similar states to consider the same policies. He also highlights model legislation distributed by “superinterest groups,” which can greatly influence the diffusion of new policy proposals as lawmakers no longer have to do the difficult work of writing policy.

What’s Buzzing?

Check out today’s spotlight, “The Influences of Public Opinion and Party Power on Anti-LGBTQ Bills in the 2023 State Legislative Session” here.