- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2022

A poll released this week finds that 61% of U.S. registered voters support the language of Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law, which bans classroom instruction through the third grade on sex and gender issues.

While critics dubbed S.B. 1157 the “Don’t Say Gay Act” long before Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law on Monday, the survey from Public Opinion Strategies also found that a majority of respondents from all political affiliations approved of the measure’s language when they read it.

The poll found that 70% of registered Republicans, 58% of independents and 55% of Democrats agreed with this key sentence from the legislation: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through third grade or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

While the law’s critics say it punishes children who bring up gender issues in the classroom, the bill applies only to elementary schools’ lessons.

“Voters across partisan lines strongly support the new Florida law after being provided with the actual language of the bill,” pollster Robert Blizzard wrote in a memo summarizing the poll’s key findings.

Advocates say the thrust of the laws is to prevent schools from covering sensitive topics that many parents find inappropriate for that age range.

A further breakdown in the poll found that 70% of Trump 2020 voters, 53% of Biden 2020 voters, 67% of parents, and 60% of suburban voters supported the Florida statute. Even among those who said they know someone who is LGBTQ, 61% of respondents said they agreed with the bill’s language.

The national survey of 1,000 registered voters, conducted online March 25‐28, had a margin of error of +/- 3.53 percentage points.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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