Jan 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Florida Republicans eye ban on pride flags in schools, government buildings

Orlando City fans wave a LGBTQ+ pride flag during the MLS match between Atlanta United and Orlando City on July 21, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Florida House Republicans introduced new legislation Wednesday that would restrict certain flags in government buildings and schools, bringing the state one step closer to banning emblems like the LGBTQ+ pride flag.

Why it matters: The bill comes as Florida has proposed and implemented a series of controversial initiatives regarding LGBTQ+ people in the state.

Details: The bill has been strongly opposed by members of the LGBTQ+ community and activists in Florida.

  • The legislation would mean that "a governmental entity may not erect or display a flag that represents a political viewpoint, including, but not limited to, a politically partisan, racial, sexual orientation and gender, or political ideology viewpoint."
  • Lawmakers had also noted that the bill could prohibit flag displays from movements including Black Lives Matter, per the Tampa Bay Times.

State of play: The Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law and Government Operations Subcommittee in the Florida House voted 9-5 on Wednesday to approve the bill, known as HB 901.

  • Before going to Florida's full House, the bill has to get cleared by the State Affairs Committee, per the Times.

Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ advocates are watching a handful of Florida bills with concern, Axios Tampa Bay's Kathryn Varn reports.

  • More than a dozen bills in Florida currently carry possible implications for LGBTQ+ people in the state.
  • Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pursued what activists dubbed a "slate of hate" laws targeting aspects of LGBTQ+ community members' daily lives.
  • The administration also moved to expand a law — dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics — last year and implemented a book ban targeting books featuring LGBTQ+ identity.

Go deeper: Florida school book bans hit dictionaries

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