For a fifth consecutive year, the City of Miami Beach has earned a perfect score of 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), making it the highest-ranking city in the State of Florida and among the top cities in the nation.
“I am very proud to represent a city that continues to make LGBTQ equality a priority,” said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. “I believe that our outstanding score and the steps that we have taken as a city can truly serve as a model for other communities around the world.”
The report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in America’s cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 291 cities across the nation, including 15 cities in Florida. The 2017 index finds that cities across the country, including those in Florida, continued to prove that municipalities act to support equality for LGBT people, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so.
The average score nationally for cities selected for rating by the MEI was 57 out of 100 points. The average score for Florida cities was 75, which falls well above the national average. In addition to Miami Beach’s 100 point score.
“This score establishes that we are a model of progressive politics and can be held up as the standard for other cities around the state and the country. The city’s score also lets gay, lesbian and transgendered people from all over the world know that Miami Beach is still the best place for them to live, work, and play,” said Dale Stine, MEI coordinator for the Miami Beach LGBTQ Advisory Committee.
The Miami Beach LGBTQ Advisory Committee advises the mayor and commission on policies and legislation to ensure equality; as such, enacted policies and legislation have secured Miami Beach a perfect 100 on the MEI. The city commission most recently passed an ordinance prohibiting harmful conversion therapy on minors within the City’s boundaries. The City also unanimously passed a human rights ordinance that protects gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex people from discrimination and establishes a domestic partner registry and employee benefits; an Equal Benefits ordinance mandating nondiscrimination for City contactors; and a “Grossing Up Ordinance” that reimburses City employees who pay higher federal income taxes because the government does not recognize their domestic partnerships.
The Miami Beach Police Department also continued having a police liaison to the LGBTQ community; enacted one of the first policies in the country detailing proper police interaction with transgender people; established a safe-space business program to help protect LGBTQ crime and bullying victims by offering refuge; and prioritized hate crimes prosecution.
The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city and a searchable database, is available online at hrc.org/mei.