Five cities in South Florida received perfect scores on the 2022 Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index report, including Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Wilton Manors, Oakland Park and Wellington.
“As LGBTQ people continue facing an all-out assault from [Gov. Ron] DeSantis and his right-wing allies in the legislature, we applaud the local leaders, like those in Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, Wellington, and others across the state who guided their cities to a perfect score on HRC’s 2022 Municipal Equality Index, working hard to resist that anti-LGBTQ bigotry and create inclusive municipalities,” said Brandon Wolf, press secretary of Equality Florida. “Our fight against DeSantis’ agenda of government censorship, book banning, and hysteria built on the backs of LGBTQ Floridians is grounded in the work of building power and safeguarding progress on a local level.”
Cities receive points based on their laws, policies, benefits and services. Some areas scored include “Law Enforcement” and “Municipal Services,” and “Leadership on LGBTQ Equality.”
Last year, seven cities received perfect scores in South Florida. Those other cities included Miami Beach and West Palm Beach. Miami Beach was left off this year’s list while West Palm Beach’s perfect score from 2021 was included. Those cities have to self-submit each year. Local activists have complained for years about the process of how cities are selected for inclusion.
This is the eleventh annual municipal equality list HRC has compiled. Across the U.S. over 500 cities were scored with 120 earning perfect scores — up from 110 in 2021. This year also includes the highest average city score, while only eight cities received a zero.
Fort Lauderdale tops the list for the fourth year in a row.
“Fort Lauderdale continues its string of perfect 100% ratings; we are a city that respects and values all its citizens and visitors,” said Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Steve Glassman. “Hate, bigotry, and discrimination are not tolerated here.”
Four years ago Fort Lauderdale enacted a human rights ordinance that banned discrimination against the LGBT community in the area’s employment, housing, and public accommodation.
According to a press release, “City initiatives that contribute to a perfect score include anti-bullying policies, proclaiming June 2022 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, reporting hate crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation annually, continued appointments of LGBTQ+ community and police liaisons and much more.”
Wilton Manors, known as South Florida’s “gayborhood,” came out on top for the ninth consecutive year.
“Here in Wilton Manors, we are humbled and grateful to have achieved a perfect score on HRC's Municipal Equality Index,” said City Commissioner Chris Caputo. “It is a true testament to our supportive community that stands behind the LGBTQ+ individuals who live and work here — going beyond standards set by State and Federal law ensures everyone feels at home. We thank HRC for their commitment as an advocate of LGBTQ rights issues across America.”
Other cities in South Florida topping the list this year include Oakland Park, Hollywood, and Wellington. The cities outside of South Florida to receive a 100 include Orlando, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. Meanwhile, Tallahassee is the only city who lost its perfect score this year, dropping to 94.
Hialeah was at the bottom of the list for South Florida cities with a score of 56. But they have steadily increased their score each year since 2019 when they were at 39.
Read the full report on hrc.org.