The Walt Disney Company on Friday responded to calls for action over the Florida House of Represenatives’ passage of a “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would limit what classrooms can teach about sexual orientation and gender.
However, the media giant sidestepped the bill itself — which has drawn protests since the state House of Representatives passed it this week — and instead recommitted itself more broadly to LGBTQ+ rights. “We understand how important this issue is to our LGBTQ+ employees and many others,” the statement begins. “For nearly a century, Disney has been a unifying force that brings people together. We are determined that it remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
As the statement continues, Disney claims its “inspiring content” is action enough: “The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community.”
The statement comes one day after AIDS Healthcare Foundation staged protests of hundreds of demonstrators outside Disney locations in Florida and California calling on Disney to publicly denounce the bill.
The bill, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, not only outlaws teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through Grade 3 “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” but also allows parents to sue schools and individual teachers who engage in these topics.
The bill is currently on the agenda for the Florida Senate, and if it passes there it would land on Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk.