Florida Rep. Joe Harding withdraws ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that would have forced college students out

Rep. Joe Harding withdrew his final amendment an hour before it was to be voted on in the House. The Parental Rights in Education Bill, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill obliges schools to inform parents of the sexual orientation of students and imposes a notice period on schools. The amendment was proposed last Friday and withdrawn Tuesday.

In a public statement, Rep. Harding explained his decision behind the revocation of the amendment.

“The exaggeration and misrepresentation in the reports on the amendment was a distraction; all the amendment did was create procedures for how, when and how long information was withheld from parents so that there was a clear process and children knew what to expect” , Harding noted. “Nothing in the amendment was about getting a student out. Rather than fighting misinformation related to the amendment, I decided to focus on the main bill that allows parents to get involved in the lives of their children.

Harding also shared that he received various online threats on Twitter and accused the media of creating false narratives.

“That’s a typical comment or message that I received,” he said. “That’s why the media that lies to the public is so dangerous. The many threats against me and my family are the direct fault of people who don’t do better, but lie to get clicks.”

The amendment was propose in January, as it proposed to ban school teaching about LGBTQ+ people and issues.