LGBTQ+ rights: See how Port St. Lucie scored on the 2021 Municipal Equality Index

·2 min read

PORT ST. LUCIE — Has the city been making strides to fairly represent and protect its LGBTQ+ community?

Port St. Lucie scored a 73 out of a possible 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign's 2021 Municipal Equality Index, an annual benchmark of how municipalities nationwide fare when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights in laws and practices.

Per category, the city scored:

  • Nondiscrimination laws: 30 out of 30

  • Municipality as employer: 21 out of 28

  • Municipal services: 5 out of 12

  • Law enforcement: 12 out of 22

  • Leadership on LGBTQ+ equality: 5 out of 8

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Members of The Sanctuary of the Treasure Coast, a local nonprofit serving the LGBTQ+ community, volunteered to pack food boxes for the elderly on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at the Treasure Coast Food Bank in Fort Pierce. Under the leadership of Jonathan Rix and a seven-member board, the group has grown to several hundred members.
Members of The Sanctuary of the Treasure Coast, a local nonprofit serving the LGBTQ+ community, volunteered to pack food boxes for the elderly on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at the Treasure Coast Food Bank in Fort Pierce. Under the leadership of Jonathan Rix and a seven-member board, the group has grown to several hundred members.

Though this year's score is up 20 points compared to 2020, the city didn't do anything that led to that increase. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in January that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which amended Florida's Fair Housing Act. That factored into the city's score.

Before that, there was no statewide law protecting LGBTQ+ persons from housing or public accommodation discrimination.

Port St. Lucie received no points in a few subcategories such as having no human rights commission or LGBTQ+ liaison or task force in its police department. Other low-scoring sections included workplace inclusivity and leadership's pro-equality policy efforts.

The city has been improving since it first appeared in the 2013 Municipal Equality Index, scoring a 0 out of 100, and now receives full marks for its nondiscrimination in city employment, LGBTQ+ liaison in the executive office and reporting hate crime statistics to the FBI.

The 2021 Municipal Equality Index evaluated 506 municipalities, including the nation's 50 state capitals and 200 largest cities.

Port St. Lucie, which is the seventh-largest city in Florida, ranked 17th out of the 20 Florida cities scored in the analysis. Daytona Beach, scoring 30 points, fared the worst.

Ten Florida cities received a perfect score: Wilton Manors, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Tampa, Tallahassee, Orlando, Oakland Park, St. Petersburg, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.

Catie Wegman is TCPalm's community and real estate reporter. You can keep up with Catie on Twitter @Catie_Wegman, on Facebook @catiewegman1 and email her catie.wegman@tcpalm.com.

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This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index 2021: Port St. Lucie

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