New York, NY — On March 15, Family Equality and a number of individual plaintiffs, including LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and families, all represented by lawyers from Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, seeking to reverse the lower court’s order dismissing our challenge to Florida House Bill 1557 – widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay and Trans” law.
“We are already seeing the harmful effects of HB 1557,” said Stacey Stevenson, CEO of Family Equality. “A recent study by the Williams Institute on the impact of this law on LGBTQ+ parents in Florida found that 56% of LGBTQ+ parents surveyed considered moving out of Florida because of the bill and 17% have taken steps to do so. And those are just the families who have the resources to relocate. We’re a plaintiff in this appeal to fight for the freedoms of all LGBTQ+ families in Florida.”
The bill, signed into law last spring, harms LGBTQ people—and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution—by discriminatorily censoring classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida public schools, not only for grades K-3 but for any grade as long as someone concludes that the discussion is somehow not “age-appropriate.” The law, written in broad terms, invites arbitrary enforcement by parents and others to sue local school boards for damages based on perceived violations.
History of the Lawsuit
- March 2022: Family Equality joins lawsuit with Florida parents and students to challenge “Don’t Say Gay” law as harmful and unconstitutional.
- October 2022: U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor dismissed our complaint and held that none of the sixteen plaintiffs had standing to challenge it.
- February 2023: Judge Winsor dismissed an amended complaint and entered judgment against the plaintiffs.
“The bottom line is our families in Florida need and deserve protections,” said Stevenson. “And that’s what we’re fighting for.”
About Family Equality
Family Equality is creating a world where everyone can experience the love, safety, and belonging of family. As the leading national organization for current and future LGBTQ+ families, we work to ensure that everyone has the freedom to find, form, and sustain their families by advancing LGBTQ+ equality through advocacy, support, storytelling, and education.
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Chief Communications Officer
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