WGCU Radio Staff
Tue November 19, 2013
New Report Shows Florida Cities Are Providing LGBT Protections Not In State Law
A new report reveals local governments in Florida are passing laws protecting LGBT communities, even though the state hasn’t put any protections in place.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Florida cities ranked slightly above the national average for LBGT inclusion in municipal law.
The group looked for local non-discrimination laws and domestic partner registries, among other things.
Catherine Oakley, who authored the report with the Human Rights Campaign, surveyed 15 cities in Florida.
She said local laws are important for the LGBT community because state law doesn’t ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and doesn’t recognize same sex relationships.
“In Florida, the protections people have are really coming from the county and local level,” Oakley said. “So, I think Florida is a really great example of how work at the municipal level can really make a difference in people’s lives.”
Oakley said cities like Tampa, Wilton Manors and Tallahassee received the highest scores in the study.
However, Cape Coral was among the cities that received the lowest scores.
Out of a possible score of 100, Cape Coral only got 10 points. Oakley said nationwide only 3.5 percent of cities scored that low.
“When it comes to the municipal level, what we are looking for is that cities really take the initiative to get there on their own,” she said. “So, I think that’s just not something that Cape Coral has necessarily paid a lot of attention to.”
Overall, Florida cities scored higher than the national average.
According to the report, the lowest score in the state went to Port Saint Lucie, which received zero points for local LGBT protections.