Marvel Studios recently made its support for the LGBTQ+ community clear in response to the controversy surrounding parent company Disney and Florida's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill.
On social media, Marvel Studios condemned the legislation, officially known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, writing, "We strongly denounce any and all legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community." The company concluded with a promise to continue being an ally to the community and promote equality, acceptance and respect.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek came under fire in recent weeks for his response to the bill. Initially, Chapek sent out an internal memo stating that, while the company should not publicly condemn the bill, he and other Disney executives support the LGBTQ+ employees and their families. Following backlash to what many found to be a lacking response, Chapek issued a statement declaring that Disney will be increasing its "support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states."
LGBTQ+ advocates and supporters have demanded that Disney take greater action, condemning the company for contributions it has made to all the politicians behind the controversial legislation. Disney has since announced a pause on all political donations to Florida. In addition, the company will reportedly donate $5 million to LGBTQ causes and sign a petition against similar bills being passed across the United States. However, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stated it would not receive Disney's donation until the company took more substantial action against the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
The "Don't Say Gay" bill passed the Florida House of Representatives on Feb. 24 and the State Senate on March 8. Its passing into law would prohibit discussion concerning sexual orientation and gender identity at school in certain grade levels. Supporters assert the bill is necessary as these topics should be discussed within families. LGBTQ+ advocates warn the bill and the vague language therein will ultimately harm members of the LGBTQ+ community and children struggling with mental health issues and bullying.
There has been a public outcry and a number of student protests against the bill. Some legal experts also suggest the legislation would violate the First Amendment and may therefore be unconstitutional. Figures across Disney and its subsidiaries have also moved to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, such as Marvel Comics writer Christopher Cantwell, who donated his earnings from The United States of Captain America #1 to the LGBTQ nonprofit Matthew Shepard Foundation.