Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on Thursday criticized the so-called Don’t Say Gay measure signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last year, saying it doesn’t go “far enough.”
“Basically, what it said was you shouldn’t be able to talk about gender before third grade,” Haley said at a town hall in Exeter, N.H., according to Fox News. “I’m sorry, I don’t think that goes far enough.”
“When I was in school you didn’t have sex ed until seventh grade. And even then, your parents had to sign whether you could take the class,” she added. “That’s a decision for parents to make.”
Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by its opponents, bars classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. The law has faced intense national backlash amid accusations that it stifles free speech and targets the LGBTQ community.
Haley announced her 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday, becoming the first Republican to officially challenge former President Trump for the party’s nomination. DeSantis is widely expected to enter the race as well.
“I think Ron’s been a good governor. I just think that third grade’s too young,” Haley said in an interview with Fox News Digital after the New Hampshire event. “We should not be talking to kids in elementary school about gender, period.”
“And if you are going to talk to kids about it, you need to get the parents’ permission to do that,” she continued. “That is something between a parent and a child. That is not something that schools need to be teaching.”