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DeVos family has contributed nearly half a million to DeSantis, making them complicit in the Don’t Say Gay bill

March 31, 2022

Earlier this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law what is referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” 

The bill bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and states that any instruction on those topics cannot occur “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards, according to the legislation HB 1557. 

The bill signed into law by DeSantis, has mobilized people in Florida, particularly students, many of which have engaged in protests, such as the one that took place at Western High School on March 11th.

In addition, many LGBTQ groups across the country are concerned that other states might also begin the process of introducing this kind of legislation.

West Michigan Connection

As is the case throughout the US, there are numerous anti-LGBTQ organizations, along with a substantial number of Evangelical Christians that also oppose any civil rights or even the acceptance of those who identify as LGBTQ. 

In Florida, one anti-LGBTQ entity is Dr. James Kennedy Ministries, formerly known as Truth in Action and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Kennedy has been dead since 2007, but he has been one of the most anti-LGBTQ pastors for decades. Kennedy had organized a national conference for the religious rights for years called, “Reclaiming America for Christ.”

One newsletter from D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries featured a photograph of very young children under the headline “SEX WITH CHILDREN? HOMOSEXUALS SAY YES!” The newsletter asserts “Adult sex with children has been a crucial component of the homosexual movement all along, and officially since the 1993 March on Washington when it was included as a demand (#55) in their famous manifesto.”

Over the years, Kennedy emphasized anti-gay rhetoric, particularly in his TV ministry. He recommended as “essential” the virulent work of R.J. Rushdoony, who believed practicing gays should be executed.

Considering the strong religious right presence in West Michigan, it should come as no surprise that people like Richard DeVos have been a major donors to anti-LGBTQ groups in Florida.

In 2008, the DeVos family was the largest contributor ($100,000) to the Florida4Marriage group, which put Amendment 2 on the ballot calling for marriage between only a man and a woman. The Amendment passed in 2008 and outlawed same sex marriages in Florida until that decision was overturned by the US Supreme Court decision last year.

In addition, the DeVos family owns the Orlando Magic basketball team, which has allowed the arena to be used for Evangelical Christian Faith Nights. These Christian rallies have also provide a platform for anti-LGBTQ organizing in Orlando. (See Bad Sports, by Dave Zirin)

Then there is the history of DeVos family members contributing to the political campaigns of Ron DeSantis, both while he was a member of Congress and now as Governor of Florida. 

DeSantis first ran for the Governor’s seat in 2018 and is currently raising money for re-election in 2022. Here is a list of DeVos family member contributions during both of those election cycles, with the likelihood of more contributions before the November Election.


Daniel DeVos – $53,000

Doug DeVos – $53,000

Cheri DeVos – $53,000

Dick DeVos – $53,000


Dick DeVos – $76,159.38

Daniel DeVos – $51,159.38

Doug DeVos – $51,159.37

Cheri DeVos – $51,159.37

This means that the DeVos family has contributed a total of $441,636 to Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

Now, there are many people in the Grand Rapids area that believe that since Richard and Helen DeVos have both died, their children do not embrace the same anti-LGBTQ ideology as their parents. Considering that the second generation of the DeVos dynasty has contributed nearly a half a million dollars to DeSantis, who recently signed an anti-LGBTQ bill, the DeVos family cannot claim to be distancing themselves from their parents hateful anti-LGBTQ ideology. In addition, the DeVos family members have not made any public statement against the “Don’t Say Gay” policy now in effect in Florida, thus it seems there are $441,636 worth of reasons to believe that the DeVos family continues to fund anti-LGBTQ policies across the country. 

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