The City of Lake Worth Beach unanimously approved a resolution naming itself an LGBTQ Sanctuary City, making it the first city in Florida to do so. The resolution promises that the city will now and forever be considered a safe place, a sanctuary, and a welcoming city for LGBTQ individuals and their families to live in peace and comfort.
The City of Lake Worth Beach has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community. Compass Community Center, the LGBTQ+ Community Center of the Palm Beaches, has been housed in Lake Worth Beach for over 30 years.
Mayor Betty Resch said, “Lake Worth Beach is a vibrant and diverse city with a proud history of embracing the gay community. Today, we continue that tradition by ensuring our city remains a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people.”
With growing uncertainty in the state of Florida around the safety of LGBTQ children and families, the LGBTQ community is in more need of safety and support from their local jurisdictions as ever. The proclamation was suggested by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), Florida’s oldest non-partisan advocacy group focused on ending discrimination based on sexuality and gender expression in Palm Beach County. Lake Worth Beach was asked first due to its long history of allyship and support for the LGBTQ community.
Judge Rand Hoch (retired), founder and president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, was moved to pursue this due to the dozens of calls the organization receives weekly from concerned families, particularly parents of LGBTQ children who are worried about the safety of their children.
“With so many LGBTQ+ people and allies fleeing Florida for less hostile states, we are thrilled Lake Worth Beach Mayor Resch and the city commissioners continue to work to ensure the health, safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ people and our families,” said Hoch.
While Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly proclaimed that Florida is not a Sanctuary State, local cities are doing what they can to protect their residents. The proclamation was unanimously approved by all sitting city commissioners in a 4-0 vote. Sarah Malega, Lake Worth Beach’s only gay Commissioner, was unable to be at the meeting to vote, though has championed this cause behind the scenes.
“Mayor Betty Resch and City Commissioner Sarah Malega have once again taken the lead in ensuring that the Lake Worth Beach LGBTQ+ community feels valued, respected and protected,” said Julie Seaver, Executive Director of Compass.
A similar proposal is being reviewed in the City of Tallahassee. Presently, 12 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington — and the District of Columbia have become LGBTQ sanctuary states. In addition, a handful of cities including Chicago (IL), Madison (WI) Minneapolis (MN), New York (NY), Kansas City (MO) and West Hollywood (CA) are LGBTQ+ sanctuary cities.
To view the proclamation, click here.