Tampa rates high on LGBT equality municipal study listen12/26/12 Olivia Kabat
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A report by the Human Rights Campaign released last month evaluated equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people nationwide. Out of the many cities rated, the Municipal Equality Index scored 11 cities in Florida based on specific criteria and Tampa was the third highest rated Florida city.
The Municipal Equality Index rated 137 municipalities on LGBT equality. Paul Guequierre, Deputy Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign says they evaluated municipal law and policy and how local governments work with and for LGBT people.
â€œWell this was our first chance to really take a look at the municipal level and we see that thereâ€™s certainly work to be done. There are a lot of cities that scored very well so we know that some good work is being done out there but there are several cities that didnâ€™t do so well.â€
According to Guequierre, the rating system allowed cities to earn a maximum of 100 points based on criteria in six categories.
â€œThereâ€™s 47 different criteria with each one being assigned a points value. So non-discrimination ordinances, relationship recognition, the municipality as an employer which means that they offer domestic partner benefits to their LGBT employees, and things like that.â€
Guequierre says itâ€™s proven that for a city to be a business power; they must treat their LGBT citizens with respect. The ratings of Florida cities ranged from a low of 15 for Jacksonville, to the highest rated city, Orlando 77.
â€œTampa got a 66, which is slightly above the national average of 59. So I would say overall Florida did slightly better than the national average with some cities falling below. Every city has some things they could do better but I think overall it was encouraging.â€
Guequierre says many cities nationwide are fighting for equality. At the same time, cities across the country also have room for improvement.
â€œThis hopefully serves as a tool for the cities themselves to evaluate their policies. The improvement will have to happen when the cities implement policies and laws that are friendly to the LGBT community.â€
Our website, wmnf dot org slash news has the full LGBT Equality report.