LGBTQ+ students and their allies marched to the Capitol in Tallahassee on March 31, 2023. (Credit: Mitch Perry)
Despite enduring a year that advocates have derided as the “most anti-LGBTQ legislative session in history,” a nationwide report gives eight Florida cities perfect 100% scores when it comes to assessing LGBTQ+ equality in the areas of municipal policies, laws, and services.
That comes from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, an annual report that gives scores to U.S. cities on issues like nondiscrimination laws, law enforcement, and benefits and protections to LGBTQ+ employees. The report is produced in tandem with the Equality Federation.
Getting maximum scores of 100 in Florida are: Tampa, Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami, Oakland Park, Orlando, and St. Petersburg.
The scores come in a year where Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign issued a travel advisory detailing risks associated with moving or travel to the Florida, referring to what they said were six anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Gov. DeSantis has launched an all-out assault on freedom, equality, and democracy itself — an assault that is doing damage that will outlast his political career,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, in a written statement. “But the resistance to that agenda is growing. And local leaders are helping lead that resistance, working to create a vision of what’s possible in Florida when we win. That resistance needs all of us.”
Other Florida cities mentioned in the report include Cape Coral, Coral Gables, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, Hialeah, Jacksonville, Miami Shores, Pembroke Pines, Port Saint Lucie, and Tallahassee.
This the 12th edition of the Municipal Equality Index but, for the first time ever, the authors say that fewer cities are providing transgender-inclusive health benefits to municipal employees due to laws passed in a number of states over the past year. The report says that 42 cities, or about 20 percent of those that have offered trans-inclusive health care in the past, are unable to offer the same benefits to dependent minors due to superseding state law.
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