The Walt Disney Company will host a major LGBTQ conference at its Florida resort later this year, after clashing with Governor Ron DeSantis on gay rights issues including his so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.
The Out & Equal Workplace Summit, which bills itself as ‘the largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world,’ will be held at Disney World in September, after last year’s event in Las Vegas.
The conference is expected to draw 5,000 attendees and is sponsored by a number of iconic American companies, including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, McDonald’s, JPMorgan, and Boeing.
Disney itself is also a longstanding relationship with Out & Equal and is a top-tier sponsor for the group. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Wednesday evening.
An Out & Equal spokesman told the Miami Herald that Disney World has also committed to hosting next year’s event, which would be held in the final weeks of the 2024 presidential election.
The Walt Disney Company will host a major LGBTQ conference at its Florida resort later this year, after clashing with Governor Ron DeSantis on gay rights issues
DeSantis has publicly feuded with Disney and last month signed a law stripping Walt Disney World of its self-governing status after the company opposed his policies
Though DeSantis has not announced a presidential bid, he is widely viewed as a top contender for the next Republican presidential nomination after garnering national attention in part through his public feud with Disney.
Last month, at DeSantis’ request, Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature voted to dissolve a self-governing district controlled by Walt Disney World, a move widely seen as punishment over Disney’s opposition to his policies.
Disney last year publicly opposed his law banning classroom instruction on gender and sexuality before the fourth grade, a controversial law critics call ‘Don’t Say Gay’.
In protest, Disney, which is one of Florida’s largest employers and political donors, said it was pausing political donations in the state.
DeSantis himself doubled down on the feud on Wednesday, saying he wants to expand his classroom instruction bans to all grade levels in the state.
His proposal would effectively bar all public school teachers from providing classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
It does not require approval from the state legislature. Instead, it is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education.
The proposal was put forth by state Education Department. Both bodies are led by DeSantis appointees.
Attendees are seen at last year’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit, which bills itself as ‘the largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world’
Marchers wave flags as they walk at the St. Pete Pier during a protest of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in March of 2022
The proposal would expand the policy that DeSantis signed into law last March to grades 4 to 12.
The Parental Rights in Education Act – which became known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law – banned lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade.
Teachers who violate the rule could face suspension or revocation of their teaching licenses.
It’s not the first time DeSantis has used the state Board of Education to push through some of his priorities. In 2021, he urged the board to adopt a rule banning the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, which it did in June of that year.
The White House blasted the move as ‘wrong.’
‘It’s completely utterly wrong. And we’ve been very clear – crystal clear – about that.,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her briefing on Wednesday.
‘But make no mistake, this is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend that we’re seeing across the country have legislations that are anti LGBTQI plus anti trans in a way that we have not seen it in some time,’ she added.
‘Again, this is just plain wrong and we’re gonna continue to speak against it.’
Ron DeSantis is moving to expand Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to all grades; the law he signed in March 2022 (above) only applies to grades kindergarten through third
DeSantis has been positioning himself as a conservative leader on issues important to parents, emphasizing his own life as a father of three young children.
In 2009, he married his wife Casey at Disney World, and recently said that he had no issue with the company until it tried to intervene and stop his Parental Rights bill.
‘Disney – I had no beef with them or anything,’ DeSantis insisted at an event earlier this month. ‘They were just normal – at least that’s what I thought.’
He claimed he went against advice of those who warned him not to go head-to-head with the powerful corporation.
‘I was counseled against getting involved in it. A lot of people said not to get involved in it – and we were not going to be able to do the Parents’ Rights bill because they’re just so powerful.’
DeSantis said, however, that he was able to strip Disney of that power that they held for more than six decades with his signature earlier this month on a new law.
The law dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District board and gives power to the state over the formerly tax-exempt and self-governing area encompassing all of Walt Disney World.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk