Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist apparently wants to criticize “misinformation” while also spreading it.
On Saturday, Crist’s running mate, Miami teachers’ union boss Karla Hernandez, posted a picture on Twitter of herself leading a gay pride parade near Orlando. Hernandez rode in a BMW convertible waving a campaign flag.
On the hood of the car was a poster that declared “Say Gay.” In her Twitter post, Hernandez added, “In Florida, we say GAY!”
Which prompted Christina Pushaw, campaign spokeswoman for incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, to respond: “I cannot believe they’re still running on this.”
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Setting aside the idea that Democrats denounce “culture wars” even as they perpetuate them, Crist has been misleading the public about the new Florida law that liberals have misnamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The law, which took effect on July 1, was named the Parental Rights in Education Act. It specifically prohibited classroom teachers and school districts from implementing lesson plans based on sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.
It did not, as liberals repeatedly claim, prevent anyone from saying the word “gay” in a classroom, nor did it deny students’ the ability to seek private counseling from school officials — although it did require schools to encourage students to discuss such issues with their parents and to notify parents of any change in a student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.”
Crist has misled Florida residents on this point since the beginning.
On Facebook on Feb. 8, for instance, he posted, “This bill undermines the goal of our state’s classrooms being safe, inclusive learning environments.” DeSantis, Crist continued, was “censoring our teachers” and banning teachers from “having real conversations” about LGBTQ issues.
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In April he told an interviewer, “I think it’s wrong to say that you can’t talk about what somebody feels in their heart, and what these young people feel in their soul.”
In June, he told another reporter that the law “would make it more difficult to have guidance counselors to be available to help those children.” When the reporter corrected him that the measure contained no such language, Crist smugly replied, “I’m a lawyer.”
Ironically, when that same reporter pointed out the law actually banned school- or teacher-endoorsed LGBTQ-centric instruction up through third grade, Crist answered, “I don’t think I have a problem with that.”