TALLAHASSEE, FL – Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hit back at a new billboard campaign announced by Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams that seeks to curb the beleaguered city’s population decline – fueled by skyrocketing taxes and rampant crime – by attempting to woo members of the LGBTQ community in the Sunshine State who object to its new “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The Parental Rights in Education Act – dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics, who claim it is discriminatory against LGBTQ people – prohibits discussion or teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation in Florida public school classrooms from kindergarten through third grade.
In response to the “Don’t Say Gay” law, Adams on Monday announced the launch of a privately-funded, eight week ad campaign targeting Florida’s LGBTQ community, inviting them to move to New York to “escape” discrimination.
The campaign takes the form of a series of digital billboards in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach that include slogans such as “People Say a lot of ridiculous things in New York. ‘Don’t Say Gay’ isn’t one of them.”
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During a press conference in Hamilton County on Tuesday, DeSantis hit back at Adams and his ad campaign.
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“Now, they’re trying to do billboards, saying ‘people, come to Florida,’” he said, although he obviously meant to say ‘New York’ instead of ‘Florida.’ “No, they will muzzle you through force of government.”
DeSantis also slammed Adams on his masking policies, particularly as they pertain to toddlers.
“They locked kids out school for a year in most of this country. We had them in school, we made sure they could go,” he said. “We said, ‘you shouldn’t have to wear a mask for eight hours a day, like they make you in New York City.’ If you’re three years old, they make the toddlers wear masks,”
In a press release issued prior to his press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis further mocked Adams’ campaign, saying that Florida residents who disagree with the Parental Rights in Education Act are more than welcome to relocate to New York, which he referred to as a “dystopia.”
“Mayor Adams is doing Florida a favor,” DeSantis said in the statement. “If anyone is so upset about our governor defending parental rights that they want to leave Florida for a crime-ridden dystopia, our state would be better off without them.”