Kauffman, House Rs rollout bills to protect teachers, parents in school pronoun legal battles

25 March 2024- In a significant move to protect and defend constitutional rights, a group of House members today introduced a package of bills aimed at safeguarding freedom of speech and conscience. 

The proposed legislation addresses concerns surrounding compelled speech and ensures that individuals retain the right to express their First Amendment right to free speech without facing discrimination or retribution. Members authoring legislation contained in the package include Reps. Robert Leadbeter (R-Columbia), Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) and Joe D’Orsie (R-Manchester). 

“These bills support freedom of speech and overall parental authority, especially when speaking with children,” said Leadbeter. “It’s about safeguarding families from government officials and bureaucrats pushing divisive agendas and undermining our conservative values as a direct attack on the family unit. Parental rights will continue to be something I fight for every day.”  

The package of bills would: 

  • Grant civil immunity to any parent who refuses to use his or her child’s preferred pronouns or refuses to consent to gender affirming medical services. (Leadbeter)
  • Grant civil immunity to any individual who refuses to use another person’s preferred pronouns. (Kauffman)
  • In terms of custody matters, a parent’s refusal to refer to his or her child by the child’s preferred pronouns or refusal to consent to gender affirmation treatments may not be considered by the court when determining the best interest of the child. (Leadbeter) 
  • Prohibit school districts from disciplining any teacher who refuses to use a child’s preferred pronouns. (D’Orsie)

“No person should be taken to court for refusing to use a pronoun for a person that does not correspond to their biological gender,” said Kauffman. “This package of bills is about protecting an individual’s freedom of speech and not subjecting them to legal actions whereby they are pressured to succumb to a false social narrative.”

“What can’t fade into the periphery is that this package of bills is about free speech and defending parents and teachers. We know how the legacy media sees this issue and the labels they have for anyone who dares to question the agenda; the bottom line is the First Amendment rights of our parents and teachers supersede their social activism,” said D’Orsie.