Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Report: Tampa leads Florida cities for 'pro equality' policies

Tampa leads the state in a new report on how well cities promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

St. Petersburg ranks eighth among 15 Florida cities rated Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C.

"It's a message that Tampa is open for business and welcoming of talent," said Nadine Smith, the chief executive officer of Equality Florida, which helped produce the report.

"A big win for the city," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, and one that shows "who we are and where we're going."

"It's not only important that we're a diverse community," but that "we celebrate the intrinsic value of everyone regardless of the god they worship or who they love," said Buckhorn, who this year became the highest ranking official ever to take part in St. Pete Pride's Carnivale parade.

In 2012, Tampa was the first bay area city to create a domestic partnership registry, with St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Clearwater and Pinellas County following suit. Since then, Tampa has had 500 couples register at City Hall.

The Human Rights Campaign ranks cities on whether they:

• Have non-discrimination laws for employment, housing and public accommodations.

• Recognize same-sex relationships through domestic partnership registries, civil unions or other measures.

• Have LGBT-sensitive employment and contracting policies.

• Provide services such as a liaison in the mayor's office or police department.

• Report hate crime statistics to the FBI.

• Have a good relationship with the LGBT community.

Tampa's best scores were for having non-discrimination laws, recognizing same-sex relationships, its law enforcement policies and its relationship with the LGBT community.

St. Petersburg's scored best in relationship recognition and its relationship with the LGBT community. The score, however, doesn't reflect the full scope of protections St. Petersburg residents have, City Council member Steve Kornell said.

St. Petersburg has had its own human rights ordinance, but Pinellas County took over the enforcement of those protections. So the city's residents are still covered, he said.

Kornell also said conversations are under way with the Pinellas County School District about improving its bullying policy.

Also, as a result of the Nov. 5 city election, St. Petersburg will have three gay City Council members: Kornell, Amy Foster and Darden Rice. The Human Rights Campaign gives bonus points for cities with openly gay elected or appointed leaders, but this year's deadline for submitting that information was midnight on election day, he said.

"Next year, our score's going to be much higher," Kornell said.

Rounding out the top five Florida cities are Oakland Park in Broward County, Tallahassee, Wilton Manors, also in Broward, and Orlando.

No other Tampa Bay area city was ranked. The study looked at 293 cities nationwide, including every state capital, the 150 largest cities in the United States, 75 cities with high percentages of same-sex couples and the city with each state's largest public university. In Florida, that's the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Read the report

For the Human Rights Campaign's 62-page "Municipal Equality Index" report online, go to

Read the report

For the Human Rights Campaign's 62-page "Municipal Equality Index" report online, go to

Report: Tampa leads Florida cities for 'pro equality' policies 11/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  2. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  3. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big


    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  4. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  5. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times