WPB EARNS TOP SCORE IN LGBTQ EQUALITY
City Earns Perfect Score on 6th Annual Human Rights Campaign Foundation MEI
WEST PALM BEACH, FL (October 9, 2018) – The City of West Palm Beach has again earned a perfect score on the sixth annual Human Rights Campaign Foundation Municipal Equality Index (MEI) ranking of cities across the United States. The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, polices and services are of the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services law enforcement, and the City leadership’s public position on equality.
“The perfect score demonstrates the clear-cut commitment elected officials in West Palm Beach have made to the LGBTQ community over the past 30 years,” said retired judge Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), a nonpartisan independent nonprofit dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
“Our City’s inclusive laws and policies attract amazing people to move to West Palm Beach,” said Mayor Jeri Muoio. “West Palm Beach is a wonderful place for LGBTQ people and others to live, study, play, work, raise families and retire.”
The 2018 MEI is the sixth annual edition and rates more than 500 cities from every state in the nation. Only 78 cities in the nation and about a half-dozen in Florida-- including Miami Beach, Orlando and St. Petersburg--earned perfect scores.
Thanks to Mayor Muoio’s leadership, along with that of former Mayors, West Palm Beach has been at the forefront of LGBTQ equality in the State of Florida:
To view the 2018 MEI Scorecard for West Palm Beach, please see attachment.
- In 1990, City Commissioners established the West Palm Beach Employment Practices Review Commission to recommend improvements to the City’s personnel practices and procedures. Within months, Commissioners unanimously adopted the blue-ribbon panel’s recommendations to improve the work environment for the City’s lesbian and gay employees.
- In 1991, West Palm Beach became the first public employer in Florida to enact an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment.
- That same year, the City Commission voted to prohibit the use of any public facilities or any public funding to entities discriminating against members of a variety of protected classes including gays and lesbians.
- In 1992, West Palm Beach became the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees.
- In 1994, City Commissioners enacted the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation. (The ordinance was amended in 2007 to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression.)
- In 2015, under Mayor Muoio’s leadership, City Commissioners updated the Equal Opportunity Ordinance by expanding the definition of “public accommodations” to prohibit consumer discrimination.
- In 2016, West Palm Beach became the first city in Palm Beach County to prohibit the discredited practice of conversion therapy for minors.
- Just last month, under Mayor Muoio’s leadership, West Palm Beach adopted an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution affirming its commitment to address and eliminate bullying at city facilities and in city programs.
- Most recently, to address the concerns of transgender and gender-nonconforming residents, Mayor directed city staff to install new signage designating single stall restrooms in municipal buildings as “all-gender”.