Tampa, Orlando edge out St. Pete in LGBT equality ranking

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Tampa and Tallahassee are the top two cities in Florida for LGBT equality, according to a study released by the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation Institute on Nov. 19. The second annual Municipal Equality Index is a nationwide evaluation of municipal law.

Categories include: non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, municipal services, law enforcement, relationships with the LGBT community and how the city treats its LGBT employees.

Orlando scored 79 out of a possible 100 points. Bonus points were given for openly elected or appointed LGBT leaders and for having “city services to particularly vulnerable populations of the LGBT community.”

Tampa scored 89 with bonus points for being a city that engages with the LGBT community and being a “welcoming place to work,” among other things. St. Petersburg fell far behind its two closest cities with a 66. Bonus points were given for having openly elected or appointed LGBT leaders.

Other scores for Florida cities are: Tallahassee, 84; Fort Lauderdale, 77; Jacksonville, 25; Miami, 67; and Wilton Manners, 82. Cape Coral came in with the lowest score at 10, while Tampa’s high score of 89 was followed closely by Oakland Park with an 85.

The 2013 MEI rates 291 municipalities drawn from every state in the nation on the basis of how inclusive their laws and policies are of LGBT people. Twenty-five cities earned a perfect 100-point score. Those cities include Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco along with Phoenix, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore.

A few surprises might include scores of 100 for Missoula, MT, Jersey City, N.J., Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio. Florida did not have any cities that received a perfect score.
To read the full report, go to:

Here are some of the key findings of the report:
Cities across the country achieved excellent scores, demonstrating that cities have a commitment to LGBT equality that is unbridled by regionalism and not confined to parts of the country many people assume are most LGBT friendly;
25 cities received perfect scores (100 points) in 2013; 11 did in 2012;
Of cities that scored 100, 8 cities came from states without comprehensive relationship recognition and without statewide non-discrimination laws (compared to two such cities in 2012);
31 million people live in cities where trans people are protected at the city level alone;
In 2012 we rated 137 cities with a total population of 55,853,651; in 2013 we rated 291 cities with a population total of 77,851,822;
10% of cities scored over 96 points, 25% scored over 78 points.  The average score was 57 points, half of cities scored over 60 points. 25% of cities scored 35 points or fewer; and 3.5% of cities scored 10 points or fewer.
Cities tended to have higher scores where the city was selected for having a high proportion of same-sex couples and the presence of openly LGBT city officials and LGBT police liaisons also tended to be correlated with higher scores.

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