GOP Gov. Larry Hogan attacks Ron DeSantis, calls Florida parental rights bill 'absurd'

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Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan derided Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill as “absurd” Sunday, saying it would not have been passed in his state.

“I didn’t really actually see the details of the legislation, but the whole thing seems like a crazy fight,” Hogan said. “And now he wants to criticize Disney for expressing how they feel about that bill. I mean, they have every right to. We have a thing called freedom of speech. They can come out and say what they think.”

Hogan made the statement during an appearance on CNN on Sunday, moments after claiming he wasn’t familiar with the details of the legislation. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in March, banning schools from instructing students about gender identity or sexual orientation between kindergarten and third grade.

CNN host Dana Bash asked Hogan to respond to DeSantis’ ongoing conflict with Disney regarding the bill. Disney released a statement last week condemning the legislation, and DeSantis has threatened to retaliate. 

“I think the bill was kind of absurd and not something that would’ve happened in our state,” Hogan finished.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hogan’s criticism.

The media has widely misrepresented the bill, referring to it as the “don’t say gay” bill, the term also used by Democrats to campaign against the bill. The legislation does not ban the term “gay” from Florida classrooms, and only prevents teachers from directly instructing young students about sexual orientation and gender identity.

While Florida has faced some threats of boycotts from opponents of the legislation, DeSantis’ office says they are not worried about such an effort.

“Many of the tourists in Florida have visited us from states with mandates and restrictions, to enjoy the freedoms and sense of normalcy that Florida has become renowned for, under Gov, DeSantis‘ leadership,” DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw wrote last week. “Business is thriving here as well, because the governor has kept our state open, and our tax burden remains the lowest in the country.”

“These are things that everyone can appreciate, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation,” she added. “Therefore, we are not concerned about boycotts or other economic harm to Florida as a result of any legislation. But even if we were: no amount of money would convince Governor DeSantis to change his position. He will always stand for parental rights and protecting children.”

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