George Santos and Marjorie Taylor Greene team up for bill that raises fears of LGTBQ+ book ban

Similar legislation has flourished across country in GOP states

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 17 February 2023 00:14 GMT
George Santos: The imposter in Congress | On The Ground

George Santos and Marjorie Taylor Greene are among the cosponsors of a new bill that is claiming to “end the sexualization of children in schools,” language observers fear may be cover for a book ban on stories featuring LGTBQ+ characters.

“The battlefield for the future of our society is being fought within the classrooms of American schools,” Representative Cory Mills, Republican of Florida, wrote on Twitter earlier this month introducing the measure, HR 863. “This bill targets the Left’s efforts to sexualize children in schools across the U.S”

The law, whose full text is not available online in the congressional records, will “prohibit a publishing house from knowingly furnishing sexually explicit material to a school or an educational agency” and “prohibit Federal funds from being provided to a school that obtains or an educational agency that distributes sexually explicit material, and for other purposes,” according to a summary.

The Independent has contacted Mr Mills, Ms Greene, and Mr Santos for comment.

Mr Santos’s affiliation with the bill may come as a surprise to some, given his status as one of just 11 outwardly LGTBQ+ individuals serving in the House of Representatives.

However, he has previously criticised societal acceptance of LGTBQ+ people.

“The family unit has been under attack for decades, decades!” he said on a conservative interview show earlier this year. “In different ways, right? The flavor of the decade is same-sex couples. ‘Oh, that’s so OK!’ Look, to each their own, I don’t have anything against that but they’re teaching in school how kids that, you know, you don’t need a mommy and a daddy, you can have two mommies, you can have two daddies. I think that’s a little much for kids, right?”

Ms Greene, for her part, has a long record of denying the existence of LGBTQ+ identities, and has criticised attempts to codify civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people via the Equality Act.

As The Independent has reported, Republican leaders across the country have passed laws restricting or banning access to books with LGBTQ+ themes and characters, as well as shutting down larger classroom education around sexuality and gender identity, notably in Florida.

"What we’re seeing in Florida is the ongoing impact of a state government that has prioritised ideological control ahead of student learning,” Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education at PEN America, told The Independent.

All told, there are 27 bills across 14 states that mirror Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, according to PEN America.

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