A reporter recently asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) if he supported “more mainstream human rights, like gay marriage and sexual orientation of adults” and DeSantis refused to give a yes or no answer.
Instead, DeSantis gave a roundabout answer in which he defended Florida’s law banning discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in public schools through 12th grade.
“So there’s a lot in that I don’t know where you’re necessarily going,” DeSantis said. “Like, look, what we’ve done with the schools is, is say, you know, it’s inappropriate to be having these students exposed to curriculum about things like transgender ideology, it’s wrong for teachers to probe their sexuality, but that’s just saying what’s appropriate for, uh, for education and we want to focus on the basics.”
He continued, “We want math, we want science, we want reading, we want writing, we want arithmetic, we want all those things. And that’s really what, all that other stuff in terms of what people are saying, I don’t know. I could just tell you what we’re doing in the state of Florida.”
But the reporter reiterated to DeSantis that they were asking about adults, not children.
DeSantis ignored the clarification and called on another reporter.
The governor has supported several anti-LGBTQ+ policies under the guise of “protecting children” from “sexualization,” but this non-answer suggests he’s also unwilling to support the rights of LGBTQ+ adults.
DeSantis’s ruthless campaign against LGBTQ+ youth in his state has led more than half of LGBTQ+ parents to consider leaving the state, according to a survey from the Williams Institute.
The survey found that LGBTQ+ families feel less safe after the Don’t Say Gay law’s passage and DeSantis’ numerous attacks. Almost a quarter of respondents said they feared being harassed by their neighbors now, and more than 20 percent said they had gone out in their community less often.
DeSantis, widely expected to run for president in 2024, has used the demonization of people of color and queer folks as a cornerstone of his political career. He has gone to war with Disney, launched numerous blindsides attacking “woke indoctrination” in schools, and taken control of the state’s education system with handpicked administrators and the power of the bully pulpit. His staff has regularly smeared LGBTQ+ people and allies on social media with vile slurs and insinuations of sexual abuse.
DeSantis has been widely criticized for his obsession with punishing Disney for speaking out against his Don’t Say Gay Law. Not only is Disney suing him, but donors and supporters have been running for the hills as DeSantis positions himself as far more focused on culture wars and personal pride than what’s best for Floridians.