Crowds at the 30th annual Palm Beach Pride in Florida could be heard chanting, “We say gay!” on Sunday 27 March, while celebrating a mass wedding of 30 couples.
This was in response to a bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill which was recently signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis’ opponents spoke at the event – like Nikki Fried, Florida’s Agricultural Commissioner and Democratic candidate for governor. “We have a governor that’s trying to divide us,” Fried said at the event. “This is what democracy looks like. We are showing up.”
The event, hosted by Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center, celebrated 30 years with a mass wedding of 30 couples. Palm Beach County Clerk of Court Joseph Abruzzo officiated the ceremony after local LGBTQ activists spoke on stage.
[Find out more about the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill]
“It is truly a pleasure for me to — you know what, it is awesome! It is awesome to be here! It’s truly a pleasure for me and the entire clerk team to be part of this event,” Abruzzo told a crowd of several thousand at the wedding ceremony.
“Now it’s time to move into the reason we’re all here — an exchange of vows and celebration of these wonderful couples.”
The wedding was open to all people and even allowed those who were renewing their vows.
“ALL couples looking to be wed are welcome to participate in the ceremony regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Compass on their website. “Those who are interested in renewing their vows are also welcome to participate.”
During the two-day festival, around 30,000 people showed up and took part in activities like the aforementioned wedding, a parade, and the festival itself.
Supporting the community
Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center is a nonprofit with a mission to engage, empower and enrich the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and those impacted by HIV and AIDS.
Its vision is to be a “collaborative leader” in creating a safe, healthy, inclusive, equitable, and affirming community for all LGBTQ people.
“We will engage the individual and collective strengths of our community and its allies to promote and develop leadership, unity and pride,” they say. “We will connect the community through diverse communications, vibrant programs, essential education and resources, and creating opportunities for our community to be seen and heard.”
Inspired to Act?
SUPPORT: You can donate or get involved with the Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center, a nonprofit that provides a safe space for LGBTQ people and their allies.
DONATE: You can donate to Prism, a Boca Raton LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, here.