Judge tosses challenge to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

Feb 15, 2023, 9:37 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2023, 12:37 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has again dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Florida law critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” that restricts teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor in Tallahassee ruled Wednesday that a revised lawsuit filed by students, parents and teachers failed to show they had legal standing to challenge the law. The lawsuit had argued the new Florida law is unconstitutional.

According to the ruling, the plaintiffs needed to show they suffered harm that could be traced to the new law and could be remedied by a favorable decision from the court. The judge said most of the plaintiffs’ claims of harm come from the existence of the new law, rather than its enforcement.

Winsor dismissed an earlier version of the case in September on similar grounds, and a similar lawsuit filed in Orlando was also dismissed in October.

A report released in August by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate said that hateful references to gays, lesbians and other LGBTQ people surged online after Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature passed the bill last spring. The law was championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican.

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Judge tosses challenge to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law