HRC gives a perfect score to Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg in annual ratings

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Oct. 8 that Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tampa each received a perfect score of 100 in the organization’s seventh annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

The report examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are for LGBTQ people who live and work in each city rated by the organization. The score is based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.

Of the 506 cities rated in 2018, a record 78 received perfect scores, HRC noted. They also shared that this year instituted new benchmarks to ensure equal access to single-user facilities in public spaces, as well as for protecting LGBTQ youth from bullying in city services and from “dangerous so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

“From San Antonio, Texas to Brookings, South Dakota — this year’s MEI again proves that there are no barriers to municipal LGBTQ equality for a city with dedicated, pro-equality elected officials,” HRC President Chad Griffin’s statement on the MEI reads. “Forward-looking leaders across the U.S. are stepping up.”

Local leaders celebrated the news via press release and social media.

“I’m so proud that City of Orlando – Government has again received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, which rates cities on LGBTQ+ inclusion in law, policy and services,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer shared via Facebook. “We’re committed to preserving an inclusive government that embraces diversity.”

“The City of St. Petersburg is dedicated to providing an inclusive and diverse city, with programs, policies, and support of events and organizations that support our LGBT community,” the city of St. Petersburg’s LGBT liaison Jim Nixon shared with Watermark. “We are very proud to receive a perfect score of 100 for HRC’s Municipal Equality Index four years in a row and are equally proud to welcome our neighbors across the bay. ”

The city also addressed the news via Facebook:

“In Tampa we celebrate our diversity as a strength and value the inherent contributions of everyone regardless of how you came here, the God you worship or who you love and HRC’s score card is proof that we practice what we preach,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said via press release.  “Tampa is stronger and more competitive when we all pull together and I am proud that our commitment to human rights for all our citizens is being recognized.”

You can view Orlando’s scorecard in its entirety here, St. Petersburg’s here and Tampa’s here. For a full list of cities nationwide, click here.

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