Fort Lauderdale Draws Disappointing Score on LGBT Municipal Equality Index | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Fort Lauderdale Draws Disappointing Score on LGBT Municipal Equality Index

For a city with the highest concentration of same-sex couples, Fort Lauderdale got a pretty substandard score in the Municipal Equality Index this year. The index, released annually by the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign, grades how municipalities across the country treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents.

And Fort Lauderdale scored a 76 out of 100 in this year's index.

Contrast that with the fact that three cities in Arizona -- ARIZONA -- got a perfect score of 100.

In fact, Fort Lauderdale also got beat by other cities in this state, including Miami Beach (100), St. Petersburg (100), and Tampa (97).

The 2014 Municipal Equality Index report ranked 353 U.S. municipalities from all 50 states and looked into 47 criteria that fall under six broad categories, including nondiscrimination laws, employment policies, and transgender-inclusive insurance coverage.

The rankings also looked into which cities provided the best equal rights and inclusiveness for their LGBT residents and employees. In all, 38 cities received a perfect score.

The average score for cities in Florida was 65.

Fort Lauderdale graded well in the index's discriminatory laws index, with an 18 out of 18. The city also did well in the Relationship Recognition index and Relationship With the LGBT Community.

Where Fort Lauderdale fell short was in the area of offering equal benefits and protections to its LGBT employees -- a paltry 9 out of 29 score. The city also scored low in the municipal services and reporting of LGBT hate-crimes.

Mayor Jack Seiler is well-known for not backing LGBT marriage rights in Fort Lauderdale. And while city commissioners approved a gay marriage resolution earlier this year, it was nonbonding and simply asked Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to make gay marriage in Florida legal.

Seiler and Vice Mayor Romney Rogers opposed the resolution. While Seiler has shown support for civil unions with full benefits, same-sex marriage advocates believe it's not enough to support just civil unions.

You can read the full report here.

See Fort Lauderdale's scores below:

Index Rankings by Chris Joseph

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