The People Have Spoken: Florida Voters Don’t Support Republicans’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

The People Have Spoken: Florida Voters Don’t Support Republicans’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

By Giselle Balido

February 23, 2022

Those who support the legislation and those who oppose it fall into sharp contrast according to whether respondents are Democrats or Republicans, poll shows.

Los votantes han hablado: Most Florida voters don’t support the state Legislature’s attempt to ban teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

A new statewide public opinion poll conducted by Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida found that, among registered voters, 49% oppose House Bill 1557, which is sponsored by Republican Rep. Joe Harding, while 40% said they support the legislation which Democrats call “Don’t Say Gay,” and Republicans have labeled a “parental rights issue.”

The legislation, which has a similar bill in the Senate (SB 1834), would prohibit teachers from discussing issues related to sexuality and gender “in a way that is age or developmentally inappropriate.”

A Division Along Party Lines

Sin embargo, lo que salta a la vista es la marcada diferencia en las respuestas, según el partido y la edad de los encuestados. The poll, which has a sampling error of 3.74 percentage points, according to PORL officials, showed that:

  • Fifty-four percent of Republicans support the bill, with 44% saying they “strongly” approve it, while only 19% of Democrats agree.
  • Whites and Hispanics were equally in favor of the bill (32%). However, only 26% of African Americans were in accord.
  • Men approved more than women by 2 percentage points.
  • Forty-eight percent of those between 55 to 64 years old “somewhat” or “strongly” supported the idea, while 51% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 “somewhat” or “strongly” disapproved it. Thirty-five percent of that age group strongly or somewhat approve the legislation.

To Protect Our Youth

Heather Wilkie, the executive director of the Zebra Coalition, an organization in Central Florida providing mental health counseling and housing services to LGBTQ youth, is worried that students will not be able to confide in trusted adults at school. This, she says, is “very problematic” from a mental health perspective. De hecho, research has found that attempted suicide rates and suicidal ideation among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth are significantly higher than among the general population.

“My biggest fear is that these kids will not feel safe in the classroom. We have to protect them from a mental health standpoint and understand that not everyone comes from a supportive, loving environment,” Wilkie said.


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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