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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. PA
Ron DeSantis

Florida governor signs Disney government dissolution Bill after 'Don't Say Gay' row

Disney had criticised the new law barring instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in pre-school through to third grade.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DeSantis has signed a Bill to dissolve Walt Disney World’s private government, after the entertainment giant criticised a measure that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The law would eliminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the 55-year-old Disney government is known, as well as a handful of other similar districts by June 2023.

The measure does allow for the districts to be re-established, leaving an avenue to renegotiate its future.

The move could have huge tax implications for Disney, whose series of theme parks have transformed Orlando into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and serves to further sour the relationship between the Republican-led government and a major political player in the state.

For DeSantis, the attack on Disney is his latest salvo in a culture war waged over policies involving race, gender and coronavirus, battles that have made him one of the most popular Republican politicians in the country and a likely 2024 presidential candidate.

The dispute with the company began with Disney’s criticism of a new law barring instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in pre-school through to third grade as well as instruction that is not “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate”.

In March, Disney said it would suspend political donations in the state and added that it would in turn support organisations working to oppose the new law.

DeSantis and his fellow Republicans then lashed out at Disney, and have defended the law as reasonable.

At the Bill signing ceremony today, DeSantis said Disney lied about the content of the education law but that he viewed the company’s vow to fight the law as unacceptable.

“You’re a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state. We view that as a provocation, and we’re going to fight back against that,” DeSantis said.

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