News Release: Human Rights Campaign
WASHINGTON — A report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in America’s cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 291 cities across the nation, including 15 cities in Florida. The 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the second edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law.
This year’s index finds that cities across the country, including in Florida, continued to prove that municipalities will act to support equality for LGBT people, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so. The MEI was issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute. The average score for cities in Florida is 58 out of 100 points, which falls above the national average. Cape Coral scored 10 points, Fort Lauderdale scored 77 points, Hialeah scored 58 points, Hollywood scored 54 points, Jacksonville scored 25 points, Miami scored 67 points, Miami Beach scored 100 points, Miami Shores scored 56 points, Oakland Park scored 85 points, Orlando scored 79 points, Pembroke Pines scored a 43, Port Saint Lucie scored 0 points, St. Petersburg scored 66 points, Tallahassee scored 84 points, Tampa scored 89 points, and Wilton Manors scored 82 points.
Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 291 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – these include the 50 state capitals, the 150 most populous cities in the country, the three largest cities in every state, the city home to each state’s largest public university, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples. Twenty-five cities earned a perfect 100-point score and serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services.
2013 MEI at a glance:
“Equality isn’t just for the coasts anymore,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This groundbreaking report shows that cities and towns across the country, from Vicco, Kentucky to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are leading the charge for basic fairness for LGBT people.”
"Change is possible everywhere, and the Municipal Equality Index showcases the monumental progress we've made. In cities and towns across America, advocates are telling their stories, organizing their friends, and changing the hearts and minds of our policymakers and neighbors," said Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation. "We're winning equality where it matters most -- in the communities we call home."
The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: