The Walt Disney Company will host a major LGBTQ conference at its Florida resort later this year after clashing with Gov. Ron DeSantis over gay rights issues, including his so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.
Billing itself as “the world’s largest LGBTQ+ conference,” the Out & Equal Workplace Summit will take place at Disney World in September, following last year’s event in Las Vegas.
The conference is expected to attract 5,000 attendees and is sponsored by several iconic American companies, including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, McDonald’s, JPMorgan, and Boeing..
Disney also has a long-standing relationship with Out & Equal and is a premier sponsor for the group. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Wednesday night.
An Out & Equal spokesperson told the The New Herald that Disney World also committed to hosting next year’s event, which would take place 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 Gov. Ron DeSantis over gay rights issues.
DeSantis publicly fell out with Disney and last month signed legislation stripping Walt Disney World of its self-governing status after the company opposed his policies.
Although DeSantis has not announced a presidential run, he is widely seen as a top contender for the next Republican presidential nomination after drawing national attention in part through his public feud with Disney.
Last month, at DeSantis’ request, Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature voted to dissolve a charter district controlled by Walt Disney World, a move widely seen as punishment for Disney’s opposition to his policies.
Last year, Disney publicly opposed its 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 halting political donations in the state.
DeSantis himself doubled down on the dispute 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 the approval of the state legislature. Instead, it is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education.
The proposal was submitted by the state Department of Education. Both bodies are led by DeSantis appointees.
Attendees are seen at last year’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit, which bills itself as “the world’s largest LGBTQ+ conference.”
Protesters wave flags as they walk on St. Pete Pier during a ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill protest in March 2022
The proposal would expand the policy that DeSantis signed into law last March to grades 4 through 12.
The Parents’ Rights in Education Act, which became known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, banned lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through 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 some of his priorities forward. In 2021, he urged the board to adopt a rule prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, which he did in June of that year.
The White House criticized the move as “wrong.”
‘It’s completely completely wrong. And we have been very clear, very clear, about that,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her briefing on Wednesday.
“But make no mistake, this is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend we’re seeing across the country with legislation that is anti-LGBTQI and anti-trans in a way we haven’t seen in a long time.”
“Once again, this is just wrong and we’re going to keep speaking out 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 the father of three young children.
In 2009, he married his wife Casey at Disney World and recently said he had no problem with the company until it tried to intervene and stop his parental rights bill.
“Disney: I had no problems with them or anything,” DeSantis insisted at an event earlier this month. They were just normal, at least that’s what he thought.
He claimed that he went against the advice of those who warned him not to go toe-to-toe with the powerful corporation.
They advised me not to get involved in it. A lot of people said not to get involved in that, and we weren’t going to be able to do the Parental Rights bill because they are so powerful.’
However, DeSantis said he was able to strip Disney of that power it had for more than six decades with his signing earlier this month on new law.
The law dissolved the board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and gives the state power over the formerly tax-exempt and self-governing area that encompasses all of Walt Disney World.