Triumph of Male Penguins: Overcoming Florida’s Restrictive Don’t Say Gay Legislation

**Reversal of Restrictions on Controversial Children’s Book Following Lawsuit**

Months after access to a beloved children’s book depicting a male penguin couple raising a chick was curtailed in school libraries due to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, a central Florida school district has reversed its decision. The School Board of Lake County, along with Florida education officials, recently requested the dismissal of a First Amendment lawsuit filed by students and the authors of the book, titled “And Tango Makes Three.” The lawsuit contested the restrictions and Florida’s new legislation that prohibits discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels.

**Lawsuit Rendered Moot as Restrictions Are Lifted**

The lawsuit has now become moot with the lifting of age restrictions on “And Tango Makes Three.” A memo issued by the Florida Department of Education clarified that the new law only applies to classroom instruction, not school libraries. Consequently, Florida education officials and school board members of the district surrounding Orlando have submitted motions declaring the lawsuit irrelevant.

**The Role of “Don’t Say Gay” Law in a Cultural Battle**

The controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law has been at the center of a clash between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. As Governor DeSantis campaigns for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, he has made cultural conflicts a key component of his platform. Following Disney’s public opposition to the law, DeSantis and Republican lawmakers gained control over the district in question.

**Legal Arguments for Dismissing the Lawsuit**

Florida education officials argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to handle the case due to its mootness and the plaintiffs’ lack of standing. They urged U.S. District Judge Brian Davis in Ocala, Florida, to defer further discovery until he rules on whether the case should be dismissed.

**Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction**

Last week, Judge Davis rejected a preliminary injunction that would have immediately granted access to the book without a trial. He concurred that the issue of book access had become moot since the school board had already lifted the restrictions.

**The Heartwarming Story of “And Tango Makes Three”**

“And Tango Makes Three” tells the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York. These penguins formed a devoted bond and, upon observing them attempting to incubate an egg-shaped rock, a zookeeper provided them with an egg from another penguin couple who had two eggs. The chick hatched from that egg was named Tango. The book’s heartwarming narrative has resonated with readers across the globe.

**A Controversial Book Subject to Censorship Efforts**

The book has faced significant scrutiny and attempts at censorship over the past decade. It has been listed among the 100 most targeted books for censorship, as compiled by the American Library Association.

In conclusion, the restrictions imposed on “And Tango Makes Three” have been reversed by the School Board of Lake County after a legal challenge. The controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law has played a significant role in the ongoing cultural battle between Disney and Governor Ron DeSantis. While the lawsuit has been rendered moot, it has shed light on the importance of allowing open discussions and access to diverse literature in schools. “And Tango Makes Three” highlights the power of love and acceptance, and it remains an influential book in children’s literature despite attempts at censorship.

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