Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “doesn’t care what big corporations say,” signs “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law

ron desantis
Credit: The Orlando Sentinel

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 1557 today at the Classical Preparatory School in Spring Hill, Florida, this morning.

The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill has received criticism from certain large corporations like The Walt Disney Company and from Hollywood and several media outlets. It was even the subject at the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

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Comedian and Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes referenced the bill during the Academy Awards when she joked on Sunday, saying, “We’re going to have a great night tonight, and for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”

The bill has been met with criticism and accolades for weeks now. Critics say the bill could be harmful to members of the LGBTQ community.

“I don’t care what corporate media outlets say,” DeSantis said during the bill signing. “I don’t care what Hollywood says; I don’t care what big corporations say. Here I stand. I’m not backing down.”

“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” DeSantis said at the Classical Preparatory School. The location of the signing of the bill was founded by Anne Corcoran, wife of Florida’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

House Bill 1557 is officially known as the Parental Rights in Education bill. The bill was passed by the Legislature earlier this month and prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools with children up to the third grade. It also limits the discussions to “age-appropriate” students in higher grades.

House Bill 1557 also allows for parents to sue the Florida school district in which their child goes to school over the issue.

Supporters of the bill say it protects the rights of parents. Opposers of the bill maintain that the bill is vague. Initially, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek remained silent on the subject, but after pressure to take a stand, Chapek made a statement, criticizing the bill and vowing to pause political contributions in Florida in response to the proposed legislation.

But DeSantis has said that many opponents have yet to actually read the bill. According to The Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis includes Disney’s Bob Chapek in that group of opponents, saying they hadn’t “bothered to read the bill.” During the signing today, DeSantis said that some opponents of House Bill 1557 have read it, but that they support “injecting woke gender ideology” and that some are “trying to camouflage their true intentions.”

A sentence in the bill at the heart of the bill reads:

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

Disney Employee walkouts were planned in protest of the bill. The walkouts that took place did so in California. In Florida, however, Unite Here Local 362 didn’t support the plans because they would have violated a no-strike provision in the contract between Unite Here Local 362 and Disney World. According to the Sentinel, only one person was observed protesting in the city of Orlando.

No disruptions to park operations at Disneyland or the Walt Disney World related to planned walkouts or the “Don’t Say Gay” bill were reported.

According to a post at Variety, Disney issued a statement in immediate response to the bill’s passage.

“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement reads. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!