TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit last week filed by two LGBTQ advocacy groups against Governor Ron DeSantis and other state officials. The suit centered on the new Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits schools from providing classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to children in kindergarten through third grade.
Judge Allen Winsor wrote that the plaintiffs lacked key elements of “traceability” and “redressability” necessary for proving their asserted harms.
“It should be obvious that harms predating a statute’s enforcement were not caused by the statute’s enforcement,” Winsor wrote. “And it should be equally obvious that an injunction precluding a statute’s enforcement would not stop harms the statute’s enforcement never caused.”
Winsor gave the plaintiffs two weeks to revise the suit for a second time.
“Plaintiffs contend the law’s passage, the sentiment behind it, the Legislators’ motivation, and the message the law conveys all cause them harm. But no injunction can unwind any of that,” the judge added. “Federal courts have no authority to erase a duly enacted law from the statute books.”
The lawsuit was filed by Family Equality and Equality Florida in conjunction with some students, parents and teachers. Equality Florida has argued against notifying parents of potential changes in gender identity and sexual orientation. The coalition sued Governor DeSantis, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., Florida Department of Education, Florida State Board of Education, Board of Education members, and several individual school districts.
In August, a YouGov poll results indicated 67% of Americans support the Parental Rights in Education law, while just 21% oppose it.