(Bloomberg) -- A suit challenging a Florida law that limits discussion of sexual orientation in schools was dismissed by a federal judge.
US District Judge Allen Winsor in Tallahassee last week said the suit by Equality Florida over the law championed by Governor Ron DeSantis was legally deficient. But he gave the organization 14 days to file a new complaint if it should decide to do so.
Winsor, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, said in his Sept. 29 ruling that the suit was flawed because the group hadn’t shown that that the new law, which its critics have dubbed “don’t say gay,” had actually caused any harms.
“Plaintiffs’ complaint is replete with allegations showing their asserted injuries flowed from something other than the law’s enforcement,” the judge said. “Indeed, they allege that the law’s ‘harmful effects’ were ‘already manifest’ even before the law became effective -- before, that is, it even could be enforced.”
“We are currently assessing our options,” Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Equality Florida, said Monday in a phone call. “No matter what we do, we’re not giving up the fight.”
The law, which took effect July 1, bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. It also bars lessons about LGBTQ issues for all grades if someone argues that the discussion is not “age-appropriate.” Parents are permitted to sue school boards under the law for suspected violations.
Equality Florida alleges the law is too vague, lacking any definition of the subject matter it aims to restrict. The civil rights groups also claim the law’s enforcement scheme is “designed to maximize the chilling effect” of the restrictions by allowing parents to sue schools for suspected violations.
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