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Kelly McClure

Disney World to host LGBTQ rights summit

In September, The Walt Disney World Resort will host a summit promoting LGBTQ+ rights in the workplace in partnership with Out & Equal, an organization that The Walt Disney Company is currently listed as being a "titanium" level supporter of. 

As highlighted by The Miami Herald, "Disney's decision to host the conference this fall comes amid a yearlong dispute between the company and [Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis], who signed a law that ended decades of autonomy at the Disney resort."

The very pro-"Say Gay" event is expected to gather over 5,000 people with big name companies such as Apple, McDonald's, Uber, Walmart, Hilton, Amazon, Boeing, Cracker Barrel and John Deere signed on as sponsors, which would seem to be a sure-fire way to bend the mouse ears of DeSantis' newly appointed Disney oversight board committee, but they're playing it cool so far.

In a quote to The Miami Herald, Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican who sponsored the bill to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 2022, said, "I'm not willing to interpret it as some grand conspiracy to stick it in the eye of the state of Florida. Disney is part of the fabric of the Florida economy . . . If they weren't holding any conferences at Disney World, that would be news because that would be a big problem."

Those who take offense to DeSantis' pointed moves to squeeze LGBTQ rights in Florida have reacted favorably to news of the upcoming summit, which has been confirmed to take place at The Walt Disney World Resort both this year and the next, bumping up against his 2024 campaign for president.

"I love that Disney is not backing down on LGBTQ rights, and instead, putting more resources than ever into education and advocacy. Well done, Disney," Tweeted writer Charlotte Clymer

"It shows the limits on DeSantis' ability to influence the content, scope of events at Disney," says Ana Ceballos, State Government Reporter for The Miami Herald

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