Utah lawmaker proposes state version of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Utah legislator is currently running a bill to prohibit sexuality, gender orientation and gender identity discussions in kindergarten and third grade classrooms. This legislation directly copies language from a Florida law which was widely criticized and referred as the “Don’t Say Gay” measure by its opponents.

Utah’s LGBTQ community has expressed concern and fear about a “copy-and-paste culture war bill.”

With roughly one week remaining in the legislative session this year, Rep. Jeff Stenquist’s controversial proposal was published on Thursday. Stenquist acknowledged that it had been published at the last minute, but he said that HB550 was necessary to draft after a mother raised concerns about what was happening in her child’s classroom.

He told The Salt Lake Tribune that he felt that some discussions were inappropriate for her grade.

We Won our Case!

Thanks to the U.S. Justice Foundation’s lawsuit, the city of Santa Ana, CA has to change the language on their non-citizen voting ballot measure! While this was a small victory, the battle is ongoing. The Left is determined to allow other non-citizens the right to vote in our elections! The question is, how determined are you to stop them? Join us today!

We Won our Case!
1776 Coalition Sponsored

Stenquist stated that he searched for state guidelines regarding discussing topics around gender and sexuality, but couldn’t find any. His bill would prohibit instruction on these topics for students in third grade or below.

According to HB550, discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in other grades would be prohibited if it was “not age- or developmentally appropriate for student in accordance with state standard.” This includes any talk by a teacher or an adult who comes to speak at a charter or district school.

Stenquist’s bill states that the schools and school districts will decide what these subjects are and what is appropriate.

He said, “It’s really commonsense and straight forward.”

The bill’s text is nearly identical to Florida’s law. It was signed by the governor in March 2022.

This reads: “Classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity by school personnel or other third parties may not be given in kindergarten through grade 3, or in a manner that’s not appropriate for age or developmental needs of students, in accordance to state standards.”

This measure was championed and challenged by Democrats as well as other prominent opponents. Disney employees, one of Florida’s largest employers, protested the measure by staging walkouts. After concerns over its slow response, the company released a statement asking for state legislators to repeal the law and for the courts not to declare it unconstitutional.

It was also called “hateful” by President Joe Biden.

Stenquist stated Thursday that it was not his intention to do the Florida thing, but he did acknowledge that some of the language was taken from Florida.

Although it is still early, Utah’s measure is causing a similar backlash. Troy Williams, Equality Utah’s executive director, stated that it was disappointing to see this proposal.

After the Legislature passed the session, the governor signed a bill banning most transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming healthcare. This happened nine days after the annual 45-day gathering of legislators.

Williams stated that the “Don’t Say Gay,” Utah-mirrored version of the legislation “only serves to inflame political division.” He also said that Stenquist never tried to reach out to Equality Utah to seek a compromise, as lawmakers did during the session on conversion therapy. He believes that the bill is unnecessary.

Williams stated that children in kindergarten through third grade don’t learn about these topics. Williams also said that older students are not taught about them.

Utah’s health standards regarding sex education do not include LGBTQ terms. In those classes, the state offers an abstinence-based curriculum.

Williams also cited the fact that Utah state legislators had passed a similar bill back in 1997, and then repealed it in 2017.

This law was known as the “no promote homo” law. It prohibited same-sex relationships being promoted in public schools’ health classes. Equality Utah sued the state for its discriminatory policy. The legislature then agreed to repeal it.

Williams said that Tenquist is reusing this, not realizing that this was something we had dealt with a few years back.” “He is just inciting the old cultural war for his political gain.”

The bill was not assigned immediately to a committee for hearing. Monday is most likely the last day of the session for these meetings to take place.