Seven openly LGBTQ candidates running for state House or Senate seats in Florida have won their primaries, advancing to November’s general election where voters will decide whether to triple LGBTQ representation in the state legislature.
Florida voters also ousted Rep. James Bush III, the only House Democrat that voted to pass the “Don’t Say Gay bill" in February.
Florida’s legislature made national headlines in January when state Republicans introduced the Parental Rights in Education bill, known to its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay bill", to restrict public school teachers’ ability to engage in classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
After advancing through the House, Florida senators in March passed the controversial legislation, rejecting more than a dozen amendments that would have bolstered protections for LGBTQ students and their families.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who also won his primary Tuesday evening, signed the bill into law later that month, accusing public school teachers during a press conference of pushing their “woke gender ideology” on Florida students and peddling “clearly inappropriate” learning materials.
Beyond the legislature, Florida officials this year have pursued policies that if enacted would further restrict the rights of LGBTQ people in the state, particularly transgender youth.
The governor’s race in Florida in 2018 was decided by only 32,463 votes out of 8+ million. The results of the poll suggest that LGBTQ and ally voters are positioned to be decisive in Florida this November if the governor’s race is similarly close. 77% of LGBTQ and ally voters have an unfavorable opinion of DeSantis.
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