Democratic New York gubernatorial candidate and Rep. Tom Suozzi called Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill “reasonable” on Thursday.
“I think it’s a very reasonable law not to try to get kids in kindergarten to be talking about sex,” Suozzi told WABC’s Sid Rosenberg. “I wish it wouldn’t become such a hot button issue where people are just attacking each other—it’s just common sense. I’m very much in favor of equal rights, I’m very much in favor of treating gay people fairly and treating them like the human beings they are.”
The legislation, H.B. 1557, prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3 and requires school districts to notify parents of any changes to their child’s physical, mental or emotional health, except in cases of child abuse. The law also instructs school administrators to alert parents of health services provided to students. (RELATED: GOP Governor Larry Hogan Calls Florida’s Parental Rights Bill ‘Absurd’)
The representative confirmed his support for the legislation calling it “common sense” in a statement to City & State.
“Let me be clear, as I said on the radio, I fully support LGBTQ and equal rights,” he said. “I absolutely do not support the Florida governor in most policies he supports. But I think it is reasonable that kids in kindergarten and first grade are not taught about their sexual orientation in school…Maybe this isn’t a politically correct position but it certainly seems like common sense to me.”
Suozzi’s Democratic counterparts, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, have expressed strong opposition to the legislation signed into law on March 28 by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Hochul, dubbing the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, called it “discriminatory” and “dangerous” in early February.
The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that far-right Republicans in Florida are pushing through is hateful, discriminatory, and dangerous.
Let me be clear: In New York, we will always stand up for the rights of our LGBTQ+ community.
— Kathy Hochul (@KathyHochul) February 9, 2022
The law has been labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by many LGBTQ activists and major corporations, most notably Disney. Florida Democrats protested the legislation by marching down Capitol building chanting “gay.” However, the law does not indicate that a school administrator or student is forbidden from saying the word.
In a statement, Disney called on the then newly-passed bill to be “struck down” by the courts and vowed their commitment to overturn the law.
“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” Disney said. “We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”