Our country is rife with homophobic, xenophobic ideology. Even today, 31% of Americans are opposed to gay marriage. For decades, politicians have been encouraging homophobia and capitalizing on these views; voters who have strong “moral” or religious views on sexual orientation are often single-issue voters, meaning they do not have strong opinions, or sometimes any opinions, on any other issues.
As such, it is incredibly easy for a politician to accomplish little—or even actively harm the social fabric of the country—throughout their career so long as they pander to their constituents’ homophobia. There is no better example of this kind of homophobic pandering than what is going on in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Law.”
The “Don’t Say Gay Law” was allegedly created by Republican lawmakers so that parents are “in the know and involved on what’s going on,” according to State Representative Joe Harding, who introduced the bill. According to Governor Ron DeSantis, he signed the bill into law so that “parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination.”
The law bans kindergarten through third-grade public school teachers from talking about or teaching their students about sexual orientation or gender identity, according to CNBC News. The law also potentially enables parents to sue a school district if they believe a school provided inappropriate information or instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity.
The law is always up for debate. It is constantly being argued over in all levels of courts, and is ever-changing, at both the state and the federal level. Many bills that are signed into law by governors or even presidents—recent as well as decades-old—are later deemed unconstitutional. Court rulings are also frequently overturned—even rulings that persisted for many decades.
There is certainly a fair amount of support for Florida’s new law, but there is also a considerable amount of criticism. While the Don’t Say Gay Law went into effect back in March, teachers all throughout the state were never issued guidance from the Florida Department of Education.
This has left teachers fearful of losing their jobs simply by not understanding how to comply with the new law. Teachers have not been the only ones to speak out against the law, which critics have argued is dangerously discriminatory. The law has also attracted legal attacks. According to Time Magazine, multiple groups opposed to the oppressive, discriminatory law—who say that the law is not legal—have filed lawsuits against school districts, including:
The lawsuits argue that the law encourages “vigilante enforcement” and that its “intentionally vague and sweeping scope, invites parents who oppose any acknowledgment whatsoever of the existence of LGBTQ+ people to sue, resulting in schools acting aggressively to silence students, parents, and school personnel.”
In response to threatened civil liberties—as well as those being taken away, such as the Don’t Say Gay Law and the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, which took away the federal right to abortion—the Equality Act was introduced and passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Its intended purpose is to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” The bill still must go through the senate before becoming law.
Illinois has strong protections for LGBTQ+ workers compared to many other states. When it comes to workplace discrimination in Illinois, there are four main types that an attorney can help you take on by filing a discrimination claim against your employer. These include:
There are certain occupations in which it is essential to be a certain sexual orientation. For example, a helpline for gay and lesbian teenagers may require its employees to be gay or lesbian, as it is essential that the employees understand where the callers are coming from, and that the teens calling in feel safe. Unfortunately, state laws make it legal for certain religions to discriminate against homosexuality. The United Methodists do not allow LGBTQ people to be clergy, though the religion does accept them to be members.
While the Don’t Say Gay Law has unfortunately been enacted in Florida, though is thankfully being challenged by multiple lawsuits, discrimination exists right here at home in Chicago. You should never have to put up with discrimination based on your sexual orientation. If you are a parent of a child who has been discriminated against, your child deserves justice. The Chicago sexual orientation discrimination lawyers at North Suburban Legal Services, LLC can help you pursue damages by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Whether you were fired from your job, you were denied a marriage license, you were denied medical services, or your child was bullied in school and the school did nothing to stop it, we are here for you. Call 312-909-6089 to set up a free consultation with a Chicago sexual orientation discrimination attorney today.