New York Mayor Eric Adams announced an ad campaign Monday to persuade LGBTQ Floridians upset about a new law that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill to move to the Big Apple.
“Today, we say to the families living in fear of this state-sponsored discrimination that you will always have a home in New York City,” Adams said, referring to a recently passed Florida law that prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender.” identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner” in the state’s public schools.
Adams said at a news conference with LGBTQ advocates and city lawmakers that the measure is the “latest shameful, extremist culture war targeting the LGBTQ+ community” and announced a campaign inviting Floridians to “come to a city where you can say and be whoever you want.”
“We want you here in New York,” he said.
“This is the city of Stonewall”. This is the city where we are proud to talk about how you can live in a comfortable setting and not be harassed, not be abused — not only as adults, but also as young people,” he said.
The ad campaign, which began Monday and will run through May 29, will include rainbow-studded digital billboards and a social media push, the mayor’s office said. It targets five cities — Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach — and is projected to draw 5 million views. The campaign has been paid for through company donations, Adams said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state measure, titled the Parental Rights in Education bill, into law last month.
“The bill prohibits classroom instruction about sexuality or things like ‘transgender’ in K through 3 classrooms,” DeSantis said at the bill signing, adding that it will ensure “that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination .”
Parents will be able to sue school districts for damages or attorney’s fees over charges of violations when the bill goes into effect July 1.
The Florida measure, which was introduced in January, has spurred months of outcry across the country, with Hollywood actors, corporate executives and the White House all weighing in against it.
The bill’s sponsors have repeatedly stressed that the measure wouldn’t prohibit students from talking about their LGBTQ families or bar classroom discussions about LGBTQ history, including events like the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. Instead, the measure would ban the “instruction” of sexual orientation or gender identity, they have said, without providing examples of what that would entail in House and Senate debate.
Opponents say the legislation unfairly targets the LGBTQ community and that its “broad and vague” language would prevent youths and teachers from openly talking about themselves and their families. They also argue that the law could open districts to lawsuits from parents who believe any conversation about LGBTQ people or issues is inappropriate.
Last week, more than a dozen students, parents, educators and advocates filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis and the state Board of Education, alleging that the law would “stigmatize, silence, and erase LGBTQ people in Florida’s public schools.”