Miami Beach Tops Nation in LGBT Equality Report, Hialeah Not So Much

It was a historic day for equal rights in Miami-Dade yesterday, as the county commission moved one step closer to adding transgendered residents to anti-discrimination laws. But it's the city across Biscayne Bay from County Hall that took home the area's highest honors for LGBT equality in the latest national survey from the Human Rights Campaign.

Miami Beach earned a perfect score from the advocacy group. Other South Florida towns -- especially Hialeah -- didn't fare quite so well.

See also: Preservationists Cry Foul as County Commission Considers Allowing Cities More Autonomy

HRC used a number of metrics for its report, including whether municipalities recognize same-sex unions, their legal protections for LGBT residents and the gay liaison work of the local police and city services.

Miami Beach was one of a handful of cities nationwide that got a perfect 100 on their report; in fact, the overall score was the best in the country, HRC tells the Miami Herald.

That's a stark contrast to some other Florida municipalities. Hialeah nabbed a final score of just 49 on the report, with HRC criticizing the city for failing to recognize domestic partner health care and legal benefits and for not working with local LGBT groups more closely.

Other Florida cities tallied up even worse results, with Port St. Lucie coming in last at just 14 points, Jacksonville getting 20 points and Cape Coral notching 22. Noted LGBT haven Wilton Manors also notched a perfect 100, while Tampa came in at 97 points.

The city of Miami was given just 53 points by the HRC, but that number will likely rise next year as a non-discrimination clause for transgendered residents is close to notching final approval.

Yesterday, a county panel voted 3-1 in favor of the long-stalled protection despite dozens of conservative speakers lambasting South Florida as "Sodom and Gomorra."

Republican Commissioner Lynda Bell has been single-handedly holding up the protection on the commission, but she was defeated earlier this year by Daniella Levine-Cava, who supports LGBT non-discrimination.

So when the bill heads back to the commission next month, it's likely to finally see the light of day.

Here's the full HRC report:

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink