While progressive opponents of the legislation have labeled the measure the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Republican state senator Dennis Baxley, who spearheaded the bill, said it is intended to restore authority to parents who are better equipped to address the topics of gender identity and sexual orientation in the early stages of childhood development.
Several ESPN broadcasters on Friday participated in an on-air moment of silence to protest Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which would prohibit classroom instruction relating to sexual orientation or gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade.
ESPN’s Elle Duncan on Friday spoke out against the Florida bill and similar proposals in other states, claiming they are “targeting our LGBTQIA+ communities.”
“We understand the gravity of this legislation and also how it is affecting so many families across this country, and because of that our allyship is going to take a front seat,” she said.
“And with that, we’re going to pause in solidarity,” she added, before observing a moment of silence.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle took a two-minute-long moment of silence during the NCAA Women’s Tournament on Friday to protest the bill.
“There are things bigger than basketball that need to be addressed at this time,” Lyle said. “Our friends, our family, our coworkers, the players and coaches in our community are hurting right now.”
“Our LGBTQIA+ teammates at Disney asked for our solidarity and support,” she added.
Staffers at Disney, ESPN’s parent company, planned to hold walkouts last week and this week to protest the measure, the Guardian reported.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he and other Disney executives called Florida governor Ron DeSantis earlier this month to “express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Chapek first came out against the bill during the company’s annual shareholder meeting when he announced Disney planned to donate $5 million to LGBTQ groups.
The bill passed the state legislature earlier this month. DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law.