Orlando again gets top marks in national LGBT-inclusiveness rating

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By Jeff Weiner

For the second consecutive year, Orlando got a perfect score on the “Municipal Equality Index,” a metric based on cities’ inclusiveness toward their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

The annual rating, released Tuesday, rated 408 municipalities across the country. Orlando was one of 47 cities and towns nationwide, and only three in Florida, to receive 100 points, the top score possible.

Mayor Buddy Dyer said top rating “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.”

“I am proud what we have accomplished together as Orlando continues being an inclusive and welcoming city where the quality of life is second to none,” Dyer said in a statement.

Said District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan: “The City of Orlando is committed to fairness and equality for all citizens. As an openly gay elected official, I am delighted with our score on the equality index.”

The score is issued by the Human Rights Campaign, which judges local governments in five categories: non-discrimination laws, employment policies, city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership.

Orlando didn’t get full marks in every category, but got bonus points for its services for LGBT youth and those living with HIV/AIDS; its non-discrimination ordinance; and having an LGBT elected official.

The other Florida cities to score 100 were St. Petersburg and Wilton Manors. Tampa came close, scoring a 95, and the state capital, Tallahassee, scored 88. Lowest in Florida was Port Saint Lucie, with 14.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBT civil rights organization, inclusiveness is trending upward nationally. The number of perfect-scoring cities has more than quadrupled since the first MEI in 2012.