Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Recognizes Florida Cities Forging a Path to End Discrimination

– Three Florida Cities Make List of Top U.S. Cities for LGBT Inclusivity –

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition today recognized Florida cities for their leadership in providing anti-discrimination policies that protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.  Orlando, St. Petersburg and Wilton Manors (Broward County) each scored a perfect 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2015 Municipal Equality Index (MEI).  They were among 47 out of 408 rated cities across the country to achieve a perfect score.

“We are proud of all 37 counties and municipalities in Florida that have passed anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “While local ordinances currently protect 56 percent of Florida’s population, the lack of a fully inclusive, statewide anti-discrimination law leaves many Floridians vulnerable and without legal recourse. Simply put, this is bad for business.”

“Cities like Orlando, St. Petersburg and Wilton Manors are exhibiting courage and leadership, and the state would benefit economically by following their lead,” Slevin added.

In a recent blog, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer wrote, “As a result of our significant efforts, our MEI perfect score demonstrates the progress our community has made and validates our commitment to have an inclusive government that promotes diversity and benefits all sectors of society, including the LGBT community.”

In addition to recognizing cities that achieved a perfect score, the Human Rights Campaign named six Florida cities as MEI All-Stars for enacting LGBT-inclusive laws and policies in states that are lagging behind. Orlando, St. Petersburg, Wilton Manors, Tampa, Tallahassee and Oakland Park (Broward County) are among cities that made the nationwide list.

Below is a list of all 37 Florida counties and municipalities that have passed Human Rights Ordinances or resolutions banning discrimination against LGBT people.

  • Eleven counties: Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Volusia.
  • Twenty-six municipalities: Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Mascotte, Miami Beach, Miami, North Port, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tequesta, Venice, Wellington, Wilton Manors and West Palm Beach.

Top employers in the state have united to form the FBCW coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including nine Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), also known as the Competitive Workforce Act, aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

To find the cities evaluated, scoring criteria and much more about the MEI, visit the Human Rights Campaign’s website.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.