Orlando – The City of Orlando scored a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Municipal Equality Index (MEI), making it only one of three cities in the state to obtain a perfect score. This places Orlando as one of the top 38 LGBT-friendly cities in the nation.
The MEI is an annually conducted survey that examines cities—including city capitals and the 150 largest cities—across the nation and scores them based on nondiscrimination laws, relationship recognition (domestic partnership registries), LGBT equality in employment laws, LGBT services and programs, and the city’s relationship with LGBT community. There are subcategories within each of the five main criteria, including transgender-inclusive benefits, anti-bullying policies in schools and having an LGBT police liaison.
“This perfect score demonstrates the progress our community has made and validates our commitment to have an inclusive government that promotes diversity throughout the establishment of policies and procedures that benefit all sectors of society, including the LGBT community,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer in a press release. “I am proud of this accomplishment as we continue attracting talented people from different backgrounds to strengthen our economy.”
In recent years, Orlando has moved toward making the city inclusive and LGBT-friendly. In December 2011, a domestic partnership registry was created, and has since then been used as a model for other cities throughout the state.
Mayor Dyer and the City Council filed an amicus brief in June 2014 in support of marriage equality to be attached to several Florida cases that were fighting to overturn the 2008 state ban on same-sex marriage.
On Aug. 11, the City of Orlando unanimously approved an amendment to include gender identity and expression in Chapter 57, the city’s nondiscrimination law. Gina Duncan, transgender inclusion director for Equality Florida, and other supporters presented the Mayor and the City Council with a transgender flag upon approval of the amendment.
“I am delighted that the City of Orlando is so committed to equality,” said openly gay District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan in a press release. “This year’s index is a reflection of that commitment.”