Disney Defeated: Judge Tosses Case Against DeSantis

(FeaturedHeadlines.com) – A federal judge has dismissed Walt Disney Co.’s lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, dealing a blow to the company’s attempt to regain control of the special district governing Walt Disney World. However, the legal battle is far from over, as Disney has swiftly appealed the ruling.

The case originated from the heated feud between Disney and DeSantis, which started in 2022 when the company criticized Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially known as the Parental Rights in Education Act. This law restricts the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. Disney argued that the law was discriminatory and could harm LGBTQ+ students and families.

In response, DeSantis, a vocal critic of Disney, spearheaded efforts to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the special self-governing body overseeing Disney World since 1967. The district granted Disney significant autonomy, essentially allowing it to operate its own government within the state.

DeSantis’ actions culminated in the creation of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a state-controlled entity replacing Reedy Creek. This move effectively stripped Disney of its self-governing powers.

Seeing this as retaliation for its stance on the “Don’t Say Gay” law, Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in April 2023. The company argued that the governor’s actions violated its First Amendment right to free speech.

However, U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor ruled against Disney, citing a lack of standing for the company to sue the governor and deeming the claim against DeSantis’ appointees to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District as lacking merit.

Despite the setback, Disney is determined to fight. The company has appealed the judge’s ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, emphasizing the severe implications to the rule of law and vowing to press forward with the case.

Meanwhile, Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Chair Martin Garcia welcomed the judge’s decision, stating that it allows the board to make the appropriate changes to operate and function as an independent government agency.

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