On March 28, 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 1557 – widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law – which seeks to censor discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida’s public schools. The law seeks to create a climate of fear, uncertainty, and financial risk for any Florida school that wishes to be an inclusive place of learning. Under this law, even mentioning the existence of LGBTQ people in the classroom can prompt a costly private lawsuit against the school district. Because the law allows any parent to sue schools, it empowers private parties to attempt to censor the curriculum to prevent any mention of LGBTQ people.
NCLR, along with lawyers from Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, filed a complaint on March 31, 2022, on behalf of Equality Florida (EQFL), as well as students, parents, and a teacher, all of whom continue to face harmful repercussions resulting from the passage of the law. The complaint alleges that HB 1557 is unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
In February of 2023, the District Court entered an Order of Dismissal, concluding that Plaintiffs did not allege sufficient facts to show standing. NCLR appealed the decision. The appeal remains ongoing in the 11th Circuit.