A South Florida city of Lake Worth Beach has become the state’s first to declare itself a safe haven for LGBTQ people and their families.

City commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to declare the city a safe haven for LGBTQ people, approving a resolution that reiterates the city’s commitment to “protecting human rights for all individuals.”

“The City of Lake Worth Beach shall now and forever be considered a safe place, a sanctuary, a welcoming and supportive city for LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families to live in peace and comfort,” the resolution states.

It cites a recent tidal wave of proposed legislation that targets LGBTQ people in states including Florida.

Nearly 500 bills threatening to roll back the rights of LGBTQ people were introduced this year by lawmakers in more than 40 states, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and at least 84 became law, more than doubling last year’s total.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in May signed four bills denounced by LGBTQ civil rights groups as a “slate of hate” against the community.

The new laws, which took effect this summer, prevent health care providers from administering gender-affirming care to transgender minors and certain adults, bar transgender women and girls from competing on female sports teams, prohibit transgender individuals from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity and limit talk of gender and sexuality in public school classrooms.

A federal judge in June temporarily blocked the gender-affirming health care ban from taking effect.

At least two LGBTQ rights groups — Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign — have warned against travel to Florida, citing the passage of laws that have made the state a more hostile and dangerous place for LGBTQ people to live or visit. In June, the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for the first time in its 40-year history.

LGBTQ rights advocates this week described Tuesday’s vote to declare Lake Worth Beach an LGBTQ sanctuary as a step in the right direction.

“If we can’t do anything about the people up in Tallahassee, at least we can do it here in our own backyard,” Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, which spearheaded the resolution effort, told WPTV.

“I think it’s time to take a stand that we affirmatively accept the people as they are,” Lake Worth Beach Mayor Betty Resch said Tuesday.

“This is a huge step in making Florida safe again for all communities — especially for our LGBTQ+ friends who have had to live in fear under Governor DeSantis’ attacks,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried.

“Our local elected officials are on the front lines in the fight to keep our communities safe,” Fried added, “and commissioners in Lake Worth made it clear that if Republicans in Tallahassee won’t protect our communities – they will.”

While Lake Worth Beach is the first Florida city to officially declare itself a sanctuary for LGBTQ people, it is not the first in the state to champion LGBTQ-friendly policies. A 2016 report from Equality Florida found that at least 40 cities had passed local ordinances strengthening sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

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