Equality Illinois condemns proposed federal ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Pride flag, LGBTQ. Free public domain CC0 photo.

LGBTQ rights group Equality Illinois has condemned a proposed federal law that would bar the use of federal money for discussion of LGBTQ in classrooms.

The bill, called the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.). The bill would bar any federal, state, local governments, or private groups from using federal money to education children younger than 10 to LGBTQ topics. Southern Illinois congresswoman Mary Miller (R-Oakland) is a co-sponsor.

Equality CEO Brian Johnson issued this statement on Thursday morning:

“Equality Illinois condemns the new anti-family, anti-equality federal legislation that would ban any discussion or material about LGBTQ+ people in federally funded programs. The effect is to erase LGBTQ+ people from public life – classrooms, healthcare institutions, workplaces, and more. And by allowing a private right of action, the legislation equips citizen bounty hunters with the power to come after LGBTQ+ people and families in our own homes. This is the America that anti-equality, anti-family groups and politicians want to enforce on us all.

“It is shameful and contrary to the laws and values of Illinois that any member of Congress from Illinois would support such anti-family, anti-equality legislation, let alone be a co-sponsor. We call on U.S. Rep. Mary Miller to take her name off this odious legislation.

“This federal legislation highlights the already-high stakes in the 2022 General Election. We urge all voters in Illinois who are pro-equality and fair-minded to vote for pro-equality, pro-choice candidates, including for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. We specifically urge voters to cast their ballots for pro-equality, pro-choice Governor JB Pritzker, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, and Illinois Supreme Court candidates Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien. We are confident they will keep Illinois moving forward and defend against those in the state and nationally who plan to turn back the clock on our human rights progress.

“In Illinois, LGBTQ+ people are co-equal members of communities. LGBTQ+ people deserve the same rights, treatment, and respect as straight and cisgender allies. LGBTQ+ people deserve to be represented in books and films. Just like straight and cisgender children and families, LGBTQ+ children and families deserve to see themselves reflected in the books they read and the stories they hear. To all LGBTQ+ people, you are beautiful, you are exactly who you are meant to be, and we are grateful you are in the world.”

Miller, for her part, expressed her pride in being a co-sponsor.