The Gaily News: Tampa ranks high for Florida gays

According to the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, Tampa is the top Florida city for LGBT individuals.

The new report ranks cities around the country based on their pro-equality policies and the protections they have in place for their LGBT populations. While compiling the ratings, the HRC considered a variety of criteria for each city, including whether there are non-discrimination laws for employment, housing and public accommodations in place or whether they offer domestic partnership registries or civil unions.

Tampa ranks at the top of the 15 Florida cities included in the report, with a score of 89 out of 100. St. Petersburg ranks eighth, receiving a score of 66 out of 100.

Of the 291 cities rated, 25 percent received a score over 78, 10 percent scored over 96 and 25 cities earned a perfect score.

More LGBT News:

• Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been chosen as the next president of the Boy Scouts of America.

As Defense Secretary, Gates was key to ending the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The policy was repealed by Congress in 2010 and officially ended in 2011.

Gates, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, takes over the BSA just a few months after the youth organization ended its longstanding ban on gay scouts. He’ll serve a two-year term.

• Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law on Nov. 20, making it the 16th state to embrace marriage equality. The state’s General Assembly passed the legislation earlier this month. The bill will go into effect on June 14, 2014.

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