Equality Florida Leader Says Parental Rights Bill Will ‘Criminalize Your Existence’

Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Florida, told a group of Disney executives that Florida’s governor and legislative leaders are seeking to erase and criminalize the existence of gay people through the Parental Rights in Education bill.

The video obtained by a reporter documented comments made during a meeting among Disney officials and activists that was called to address the legislation recently signed by Governor DeSantis.

Referring to the bill, Smith said the actions by the governor and legislative leaders harkened back to the 1950’s and 1960’s. She told the Disney executives that “when they can criminalize your existence and demonize who you are, the next step is to criminalize you and take your kids.”

The comments by the participants in meeting voiced no concerns related to the provisions of bill addressing parental rights and the limitations of gender identity instruction to elementary school students. Instead, the discussion focused on how Disney would promote LGBTQ causes within their programing.

Smith has previously chose to characterize DeSantis as a “coward.”

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Peter D’Abrosca of The Star News Network Discusses the Florida Anti-Grooming Bill with Stephen K. Bannon on WarRoom

group of kids outside during the day playing spike ball

Thursday morning on WarRoom Battleground, host Bannon welcomed The Star News Network’s Pete D’Abrasco to the show to talk about the anti-grooming legislation passed in Florida.

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DeSantis Spokesperson Responds to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Moniker, Outrage Follows

Christina Pushaw

The spokesperson for Governor DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, responded to the “Don’t Say Gay” label with a moniker of her own and outrage ensued from LGBTQ advocates.

Pushaw tweeted that the “bill that liberals inaccurately call “Don’t Say Gay” would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill.” And added, “If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8-year-old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.”

The backlash was quick.

First, Joe Saunders, the political director for Equality Florida responded by mischaracterizing Pushaw’s comments.

Saunders tweeted, “@GovRonDeSantis chief spokesperson just called us all pedophiles. We’ve always known the #dontsaygaybill was a about anti-lgbtq animus. She just said the quiet part out loud. DSG is on the Senate floor Mon and students are organizing. Bring your outrage to Tallahassee #flapol.”

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Responds to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Label of Parental Rights Bill

On Friday, Governor DeSantis pushed back on the media for labeling the Parental Rights in Education legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

During a press conference a reporter asked DeSantis if he had any comments  “on the protests against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill?” DeSantis took the opportunity to address the use of the “Don’t Say Gay” label by the reporter.

“You call it that. I’ve not seen that in any of these bills. Where is that coming from? You’re in the news business. Does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of the bills?”, asked DeSantis.

The actual language in the Parental Rights in Education bill  “prohibits a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

However LGBTQ advocates and the legacy media have used the “Don’t Say Gay” label to repeatedly characterize the legislation.

For example, Equality Florida recently released a television advertisement “blasting” Governor DeSantis over the legislation, which the group describes as “LGBTQ censorship.”

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School District Funds Paid for Employees to Attend Equality Florida Conference

Expense records indicate that school district funds were used to pay for a Leon County school district employees to attend the “All Together Now” (ATN) conference sponsored by Equality Florida.

Equality Florida is a left-wing progressive group that advocates for LGBTQ issues and was recently in the news for attacking Governor Ron DeSantis via television advertisements. The group is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is also affiliated with the Equality Florida Action PAC . The PAC is touted as the “largest organization in Florida devoted to electing pro-equality candidates to all levels of government.”

The PAC also endorses candidates which are  overwhelmingly Democrats. For example, during the 2020 election cycle the Equality Florida PAC endorsed 14 Democrats and no Republicans in Florida U.S House races.

One of the methods used by Equality Florida to promote their mission and influence school district policy is through the “All Together Now Conference”. Equality Florida states that ATN provides “dynamic programming that includes sessions such as a superintendent’s roundtable discussion, family acceptance panels, GSA workshops, and legal expert testimonials.”

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Emails Show School District Officials – Funded by Taxpayers – Teamed with Equality Florida to Advocate for LGBTQ Issues

Emails from a Florida Capital Star information request show that Florida school officials in districts across the state have been recruited by Equality Florida to promote LGBTQ issues.

Equality Florida is a left-wing political group that advocates for civil rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBQT+) residents in Florida. The group has come out against the current Parental Rights in Education bill now being considered in the Florida Legislature.

The emails, covering 2016 to 2020, show how De Palazzo, the Safe & Healthy Schools director for Equality Florida, engaged one school district official form Leon County to help with Equality Florida’s mission.

In 2016, Palazzo reached out to Dr. Kathleen Rodgers and wrote “I am working and meeting in about 20 school districts and would be happy to assist your district as well in the form of direct service, meeting with teams, etc. A friendly reminder that there is no fee for service because I know that budgets are tight and for this important subject, fees could be a deterrent.”

Later emails indicate Rodgers became part of what Palazzo often referred to as a “team”

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Equality Florida Targets DeSantis, Parental Rights Bill in Political Ad

group of people recording a political ad

Equality Florida, an LGBTQ advocacy group, released a television advertisement on Monday “blasting” Governor DeSantis over the Parental Rights in Education Bill (SB 1834), which the group describes as “LGBTQ censorship and surveillance agenda.”

Critics of the Parental Rights in Education legislation labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and have refused to answer questions about the other provisions of the bill, focused on parental rights. These provisions require parental notification related to certain actions taken at school and “adopt procedures that reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.”

The ad, shown below, refers to a provision in the Parental Rights in Education bill that “prohibits a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

The ad shows a student giving a classroom presentation.  When the student mentions she has two moms, alarms start going off in the classroom and she is asked to report to the office.

Equality Florida contends that “the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which bans discussion of LGBTQ in primary grades, would further stigmatize the LGBTQ community, chill efforts to create inclusive school environments, and isolate LGBTQ young people who are already at staggeringly higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than their peers.”

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Amid Parental Rights Debate, Confidentiality Policies Vary Across Florida School Boards

Amid a debate over parental rights in education legislation (HB 1557/SB 1834), a review of policies across several Florida school boards indicates there is inconsistent guidance related to parental rights and student confidentiality.

For example, recent reports about elementary school officials in Clay County engaging in the counseling of a student without notifying parents revealed competing views about parental rights within the school district.

Clay county school officials allegedly defended their actions by invoking “confidentiality rules” to justify not including the parents in the counseling sessions.

However, a lawsuit filed notes that the Clay County Public Schools written guidance expressly contradicts the use of “confidentiality rules.” An exhibit attached to the lawsuit notes that children do not have a confidentiality right and that school officials must obtain parental consent before guaranteeing confidentiality to a child.

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Florida School Boards Association Denies Bias, Teams Up with ‘Equality Florida’ to Promote LGBT Policies in Classroom

Group of kids playing with a rainbow parachute cloth in a field

As debates rage across the country over gender issues in schools, Florida school officials with the Florida School Board Association (FSBA) have teamed up with a left-wing progressive group to develop policies that determine how controversial issues will be addressed in the classroom.

Often times these discussions take place outside of official school meetings but involve elected officials.

The group, Equality Florida, is a left-wing political advocacy group that advocates for civil rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBQT+) residents in Florida. The group has successfully developed a network of connections among school officials that facilitates the promotion of their views in school operations.

One of the methods used by Equality Florida to influence policy at schools is the “All Together Now Conference” (ATN). Equality Florida states that ATN provides “dynamic programming that includes sessions such as a superintendent’s roundtable discussion, family acceptance panels, GSA workshops, and legal expert testimonials.”

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Nikki Fried Embraces LGBTQ Issues, Equality Florida Responds with ‘Highest Honor’

Since taking office as Commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture, Nikki Fried (D) has made numerous moves backing LGBT advocacy issues. One LGBT advocacy group, Equality Florida, has been a large player in Florida’s progressive politics and receiving an official endorsement can lead to major financial contributions.

Equality Florida previously endorsed then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) against Ron DeSantis (R) in 2018. As election day drew nearer, the Human Rights Campaign, another pro-LGBT group, bought more than half a million dollar ad buys encouraging voters to support Florida’s Democrats, including Gillum.

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