DeSantis defeats Disney in court over free speech lawsuit about parental rights bill

A court handed Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a victory after tossing out a lawsuit from media conglomerate Disney over the company’s objections to his parental rights legislation.

Disney filed the lawsuit against Florida officials in March 2022 after it lost special district privilege when the company criticized DeSantis over the passage of the Parental Rights in Education Act. The popular legislation restricted controversial books referring to gender choice and sexuality that might be provided to children at public schools.

Disney’s CEO at the time called the bill a “challenge to basic human rights,” and the legislature responded by revoking the company’s special status related to the district around its theme parks. The lawsuit claimed that the government action was retaliatory and infringing on free speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor said in the 17-page ruling that Disney had no standing to sue Florida officials.

“Disney has not alleged any specific actions the new board took (or will take) because of the Governor’s alleged control,” wrote Winsor.

“In fact, Disney has not alleged any specific injury from any board action,” he explained. “Its alleged injury, as discussed above, is its operating under a board it cannot control. That injury would exist whether or not the Governor controlled the board, meaning an injunction precluding the Governor from influencing the board would not redress Disney’s asserted injury.”

DeSantis was pilloried by the left and by many in the media who referred to the parental rights law as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in order to exaggerate its effect. The governor used the bill partly as a springboard to a presidential campaign, but he suspended the effort after not enough support materialized.

Judge Winsor was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Here’s more about the decision:

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