The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) has rated the City of West Palm Beach as better than perfect, with a score of 106 points, on its 2021 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) Scorecard. Rating more than 500 U.S. cities, the MEI examines how inclusive are the municipal laws, policies and services of the LGBTQ people in communities. 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. This is the fifth time the city has received a perfect score or better.
“I am proud that the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index has recognized the City of West Palm Beach for its inclusivity, one of our community’s greatest strengths and standards,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “West Palm Beach greatly values the LGBTQ community, who deserve to fully participate in and contribute to our community and with dignity. I am committed to making West Palm Beach a community of opportunity for all residents, including the LGBTQ.”
The City of West Palm Beach has been at the forefront of LGBTQ equality in the State of Florida:
- In 1990, City Commissioners established the West Palm Beach Employment Practices Review Commission to recommend improvements to the City’s personnel practices and procedures.
- 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, 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 practice of conversion therapy for minors.
- In 2018, West Palm Beach adopted an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution affirming its commitment to address and eliminate bullying at City facilities and in City programs.