Dozens of pro-LGBTQ protesters picketed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ speech in New York City Sunday, but the Governor says he won’t be silenced.
New York Democratic lawmakers and protesters unsuccessfully demanded organizers strip DeSantis’ speech from the agenda of this year’s Jewish Leadership Conference for recent actions and comments critics deem hateful to the LGBTQ community. Remaining in the Big Apple Monday morning after speaking at the event, the Republican Governor appeared on the set of Fox and Friends, where he proclaimed he wouldn’t be canceled.
“I am not going to let them cancel me, and so we spoke and we were happy to do that,” DeSantis said. “After all, as the Governor of Florida, me of anyone should be able to speak in front of all these future Florida voters that are moving down to my state, so we weren’t going to let that deter us.”
The Governor also joked that he was disappointed there weren’t more protesters.
“These are leftists, and the fact of the matter is they are having a spasm about me because we’re winning in Florida. They see that and they don’t like that, so they would find something to be able to pitch a fit about,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis’ speech, “The Florida Model and Why It’s Good for Religious Americans” closed out the day at the conference, produced by the conservative nonprofit Tikvah Fund. The event was held at Chelsea Piers entertainment center in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, which is known for its LGBTQ history.
The protests came amid Pride Month and on the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
DeSantis has acquired critics nationwide for signing Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, called the “Don’t Say Gay” law by opponents. The law, which takes effect next month, will prevent discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity between kindergarten and third grade and limit instruction about those topics in later grade levels to age-appropriate discussions. Parents who think a classroom discussion was not age-appropriate or who are unsupportive of a district’s policies will be able to sue for damages and attorneys fees.
Jonathan Silver, co-chair of the Jewish Leadership Conference, told Bloomberg why the organization invited Florida’s Governor to the event.
“There’s a Jewish Renaissance taking place in Florida, and we wanted to hear from DeSantis on what his vision for religious minorities is elsewhere in the country,” Silver said.