Tuesday, January 12, 2021

LGBTQ-Supportive Laws and Policies in Palm Beach County - updated January 12, 2021

1. 1990 - Palm Beach County amends its Fair Housing Ordinance to protect gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from discrimination in housing, financing for housing, and in public accommodations.  

2. 1990 - Palm Beach County becomes the first public employer in Florida to amend the County's Affirmative Action Plan to protect gay and lesbian County employees from discrimination in County hiring and employment.   

3. 1991 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to enact an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment.

4. 1991 - West Palm Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.     

5. 1991 - Boynton Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.

6. 1991 - Riviera  Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.

7. 1992 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees.

8. 1994 - West Palm Beach enacts an Equal Opportunity Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

Note:   1995 - Voters in West Palm Beach overwhelmingly reject the effort to repeal the Equal Opportunity Ordinance by a margin of 56% to 43%.  West Palm Beach becomes the first jurisdiction in Florida to withstand a repeal effort by popular vote.

9. 1996 - Lake Park enacts an Equal Opportunity/Minority and Women Business Enterprises Ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on  sexual orientation.

10. 1999 - The City of Atlantis updates its Police Department’s Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace Policy to include sexual orientation.

11. 2002 - The Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

12. 2002 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the County's Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation.

13. 2003 - West Palm Beach extends lifetime health insurance benefits to the surviving domestic partner of any city employee killed in the line of duty

14. 2003 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a policy to protect students against harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.

15. 2003 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

16. 2004 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

17. 2004 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections becomes the first local public employer to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

18. 2004 - The Port of Palm Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

19. 2004 - Lake Worth offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

20. 2004 - The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

21. 2005 - West Palm Beach establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

22. 2005 - Belle Glade amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to include sexual orientation

23. 2006 - Belle Glade enacts s Special Event Permit Ordinance specifically prohibiting discrimination based on “sexual orientation or gender related grounds.”

24. 2006 - Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

25. 2006 - The School District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

26. 2006 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

27. 2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector revises its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

28. 2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

29. 2006 - Palm Beach County establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

30. 2006 - Delray Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

31. 2006 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a Commercial Nondiscrimination Policy which prohibits the School District from doing business with firms which discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other form of unlawful discrimination.

32. 2006 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University trustees adopts an Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation covering all classes protected by law.  (Gay men and lesbians at FAU's Palm Beach and Broward campuses would be covered under the regulation because such discrimination is prohibited by county ordinances.)

33. 2006 -  West Palm Beach extends health insurance continuation coverage (COBRA) to city employees with domestic partners.

34. 2006 - Palm Tran offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

35. 2007-  West Palm Beach amends its Equal Opportunity Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression  in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

36. 2007 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

37. 2007 -  Jupiter adopts an ordinance amending its Equal Opportunity Policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

38. 2007 - Jupiter offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

39. 2007 - Juno Beach revises its non-discrimination and harassment awareness policies to include sexual orientation. 

40. 2007 - Juno Beach revises the definition of "immediate family" with regard to bereavement leave to include an employee's "significant other."

41. 2007 - Hypoluxo amends its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

42. 2007 - The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office amends its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and marital status.

43. 2007 - The Health Care District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

44. 2007 - The Solid Waste Authority updates its nondiscrimination policies in early 2007 to include sexual orientation

45. 2007 - The Solid Waste Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.                          

46. 2007 - Palm Beach County amends its Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

47. 2007 - Tequesta enacts comprehensive policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

48. 2007 - Ocean Ridge enacts a equal opportunity resolution setting a town policy which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

49. 2007 - Royal Palm Beach amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and its Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

50. 2007 - Palm Beach Gardens City Council implements basic domestic partner benefits for city employees.

51. 2008 - Palm Beach Community College offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

52. 2008 - The Palm Beach County School Board expands the definition of "family" in the School District's Leave of Absence policy to include employees' domestic partners and their children.

53. 2008 - The Palm Beach County School Board includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression  as protected classes in a comprehensive policy protecting students against bullying and harassment.

54. 2008 - Tequesta revises its collective bargaining agreements and its employee handbook to include domestic partners as members of employee's immediate family.

55. 2008 - The South Florida Water Management Districts amends its policies to prohibit harassment based on gender identity or expression.

56. 2009 - The Palm Beach County Children's Services Council offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

57. 2009 - Seacoast Utility Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

58. 2009 - The School District of Palm Beach County includes the children of employees' domestic partners as eligible dependents for health insurance coverage.

59. 2011 - The Palm Beach County School Board revises all of the School District’s  nondiscrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

60. 2011 - Wellington offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

61. 2011 - Wellington amends their non-discrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

62. 2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Harassment Policy to include gender identity or expression.

63. 2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

64. 2011 - West Palm Beach revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.       

65. 2011 - The Office of the Public Defender revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

66. 2011 - Palm Beach County revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

67. 2011 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University adds sexual orientation to the school’s Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation.

68. 2012 - Delray Beach revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

69. 2012 - Palm Beach County amends its Nondiscrimination in Contracting Policy to include gender identity or expression.

70. 2012 - The West Palm Beach Housing Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

71. 2012 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

72. 2013 - Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits implements a tax equity policy providing eligible employees with domestic partners a $500 annual stipend to offset the additional federal income taxes which assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

73. 2013 - Palm Beach County's Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon implements a tax equity policy providing eligible employees with domestic partners a $500 annual stipend to offset the additional federal income taxes which assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

74. 2013 - The Town of South Palm Beach adds "sexual orientation" and "any other legally protected status" to the Town's nondiscrimination statement.

75. 2013 - The Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

76. 2013 - The City of Delray Beach updates its policy against discrimination, harassment and bullying to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."    

77. 2013 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse municipal employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

78. 2013 - Florida Atlantic University offers a domestic partnership stipend to university employees and allows employees to use sick leave to care for their domestic partners.

79. 2013 - The Palm Beach Town Council votes 4-1 to implement the full range of domestic partnership benefits for Town employees.

80. 2013 -  Palm Beach County enacts a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse municipal employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

81. 2013 - The City of Boca Raton amends its personnel rules and regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

82. 2013 - The City of Boca Raton extends the jurisdiction of the Community Relations Board to include the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

83. 2013 - The City of Boca Raton extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees. The benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, continuation of insurance coverage (identical to coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA), funeral leave, domestic violence leave, family sick leave and domestic partner leave (identical to coverage by the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA).

84. 2013 - The City of Palm Beach Gardens offers full domestic partnership health insurance benefits to its municipal employees.

85. 2014 -  The Clerk and Comptroller for Palm Beach County implements a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

86. 2014 - Lake Worth establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

87. 2014 - Lake Worth implements a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

88. 2014 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts and Equal Benefits Ordinance requiring city contractors to provide the same family benefits to employees with domestic partners and same-sex spouses as they provided to employees whose marriages are recognized by the state of Florida.

89. 2014 - The City of Boynton Beach amends its personnel policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

90. 2014 - The City of Boynton Beach extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees.

91. 2014 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously votes to establish a policy stating that the County shall not do business with, or appropriate funds to, any public or private organization which practices discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability or genetic information. 

92. 2014 -  The Town of Lake Park updates its Equal Employment Policy to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity or expression"

93. 2015 - The Port of Palm Beach includes an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination clause in their contract with Bahamas Paradise Cruiseline.

94. 2015 - The Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County updates its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

95. 2015 - The City of Boynton Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

96. 2015 - The City of  Riviera Beach amends its Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

97. 2015 - The City of Greenacres enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

98. 2015 - The City of Delray Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

99. 2015 - Florida Atlantic University amends Regulation 5.010, Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment, to include "gender identity and expression".

100. 2015 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores unanimously adopts  an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.

101. 2015 - The Town of Haverhill adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals. 

102. 2015 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners  votes to vastly expand the  definition of "places of public accommodation" in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation.  


103. 2015 - The Village of Wellington enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

104. 2015 - The West Palm Beach City Commission votes to vastly expand the  definition of "public accommodations" in the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

105. 2015 - The School District of Palm Beach County replaces the phrase “personal life style (including sexual orientation)” with the phrases “gender identity and/or gender expression” and “sexual orientation” in the Discrimination and Harassment article in the School District’s collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union.

106. 2015 - The South Florida Water Management District announced that it prohibits transgender workers from being harassed and discriminated against based on both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" even if they work in a jurisdiction that has no LGBTQ-inclusive rights laws. 

107. 2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Equal Employment Opportunity  Policy to prohibit discrimination against Town employees based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

108. 2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Anti-Harassment Policy to prohibit harassment against Town employees based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

109. 2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amended the city’s Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

110. 2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amended the city’s Merit Services policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

111. 2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amended the city’s Procurement Code to ensure equal opportunity based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

112. 2016 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores  updated its Anti-Harassment Policy to specifically include "gender identity or expression" among the protected classes.

113. 2016 - The City of West Palm Beach updated its procurement code to expressly prohibit  discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

114. 2016 - The City of West Palm Beach updated its health insurance policies to include transgender related care for municipal employees.

115. 2016 - The City of West Palm Beach  enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

116. 2016 - The 15th Judicial Circuit updated its Civil Rights Complaint Procedure to specifically include complaints of discrimination based on "gender identity or expression".

117. 2016 - The 15th Judicial Circuit updated its Code of Conduct for Non-Judicial Employees to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity and expression”.

118. 2017 - The City of Lake Worth  enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

119. 2017 - The City of Boynton Beach  enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

120. 2017 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the definition of “sexual orientation" in the County’s Equal Employment Ordinance from "male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice" to   "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived." 

121. 2017 - The City of Delray Beach enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

122. 2017 - The City of Riviera Beach enacts an ordinance banning conversion therapy for minors.

123. 2017 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the definition of “sexual orientation" in the County’s Equal Employment Ordinance from "male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice" to "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived."

124. 2017 - The City of Delray Beach enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

125. 2017 - The Town of Jupiter enacts a Fair and Impartial Policing Statement which provides that police officers “shall not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation in establishing either reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or as a basis for requesting consent to search.”

126. 2017 - The City of Riviera Beach enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

127. 2017 - Palm Beach County updated its health insurance policies to include transgender related care for county employees.

128. 2017 - The Village of Wellington enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

129. 2017 - The City of Greenacres  enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

130. 2017 - The City of Boca Raton enacts an ordinance banning  conversion therapy for minors.

131. 2017 - Palm Beach County becomes the first county in Florida – and the largest county in the United States – to enact an ordinance banning conversion therapy for minors.

132. 2018 - The Village of Royal Palm Beach adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights resolution.

133. 2018 - The City of West Palm Beach adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution affirming its commitment to address and eliminate bullying at city facilities and in city programs. 

134. 2018 - The School Board of Palm Beach County adopts Policy 1.041, Equity Policy, to show the Board’s commitment to eliminating race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic status as predictors for academic success.

135. 2018 - The Town of Ocean Ridge enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.

136. 2018 - The School Board of Palm Beach County amends Policy 0.01, Commitment to Students, to prohibit discrimination and harassment by educators based on students' sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

137. 2019 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the definition of “sexual orientation" in the County’s Ordinance for Housing and Places of Public Accommodation from "male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice" to   "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived." 

138. 2019 - The City of Lake Worth Beach adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution affirming its commitment to address and eliminate bullying at city facilities and in city programs. 

139. 2020 - The City of West Palm Beach designates the single-occupancy restrooms in the City Hall Complex as "Gender Neutral."

140. 2020 - Palm Beach County‘s Facilities Development & Operations Department begins designating single-occupancy restrooms in properties owned and leased by the County as “All Gender.”

141. 2020 - The Boynton Beach City Commission unanimously votes to designate all single-occupancy restrooms in municipal properties "All Gender."

142. 2020 - The City of Westlake enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.

143. 2020 - The City of West Palm Beach amends its Equal Opportunity Ordinance by extending protection from discrimination to employees working for small businesses (those with 5-14 employees).

144. 2020 - The Village of North Palm Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.

145. 2020 - The West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously adopts a resolution authorizing the City’s first LGBTQ Pride Crosswalk.

146. 2020 - The Town of Haverhill enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance. 

147. 2020 - The City of Palm Beach Gardens adopts a resolution denouncing hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

148. 2020 - The Town of Juno Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.

149. 2020 - The City of Riviera Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance. 

150. 2020 - The Commissioners of the Port of Palm Beach unanimously voted to add "gender identity or expression" to the Port's Equal Opportunity Statement for all Port policies and contracts.

151. 2020 -  The City of South Bay adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights resolution.

152. 2020 - The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County file Joint Petitions for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto and Hamilton v. City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

153. 2020 - The City of West Palm Beach joins the amicus brief filed by The City of Miami in support of the Joint Petitions for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto and Hamilton v. City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

154. 2020 - The City of Delray Beach joins the amicus brief filed by The City of Miami in support of the Joint Petitions for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto and Hamilton v. City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

155. 2020 - The City of Lake Worth Beach joins the amicus brief filed by The City of Miami in support of the Joint Petitions for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto and Hamilton v. City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

156. 2020 - The City of Riviera Beach joins the amicus brief filed by The City of Miami in support of the Joint Petitions for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto and Hamilton v. City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

157. 2020 - The City of Greenacres joins the amicus brief filed by The City of Miami in support of the Joint Petitions for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto and Hamilton v. City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

158. 2021 - Palm Beach County amends its Equal Opportunity Ordinance by extending protection from discrimination to employees working for small businesses (those with 5-14 employees).



Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Year in Review -- and 2019 Too!

 

A look back at LGBTQ progress
 throughout Palm Beach County
over the past two years

DECEMBER 2020
  • The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County file Joint Petition for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto v. City of Boca Raton, the case seeking to strike down their ordinances banning conversion therapy. 
  • The Cities of Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth Beach, Riviera Beach, and West Palm Beach, Florida join the City of Miami's amicus brief in support of The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County's Joint Petition for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Otto v. City of Boca Raton
  • West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James signs on to the Freedom for All Americans letter to Members of Congress urging them to enact comprehensive federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. 
  • The City of West Palm Beach earns a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Municipal Equality Index. Only six other municipalities in Florida were awarded 100 points.

NOVEMBER 2020
  • A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reverses the District Court’s denial of plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Otto v. City of Boca Raton and remands the case to the District Court, thus allowing the therapists to, once again, practice their quackery on local children.
  • The City of South Bay adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights resolution.

OCTOBER 2020
  • The City of Riviera Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.
  • The Commissioners of the Port of Palm Beach unanimously vote to add "gender identity or expression" to the Port's Equal Opportunity Statement for all Port policies and contracts.
  • PBCHRC Board Member G. Joseph Garcia is named to the Board of Directors for the FSU Pride Alumni Network

SEPTEMBER 2020
  • The Towns of Haverhill and Juno Beach enact LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinances.
  • The City of Palm Beach Gardens adopts a resolution denouncing hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

AUGUST 2020
  • The Village of North Palm Beach enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.
  • The City of West Palm Beach amends its Equal Opportunity Ordinance by extending protection from discrimination to employees working for small businesses (those with 5-14 employees).
  • PBCHRC Board Member Chauncey Graham is appointed to serve on the West Palm Beach Mayor's Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality and selected for Leadership Florida Connect 2021.

JULY 2020
  • PBCHRC Board Member Jasmin Lewis is named Victory Fund Empowerment Fellow.

JUNE 2020
  • The City of Westlake enacts an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights ordinance.
  • G. Joseph Garcia is named Chair of PBCHRC Charitable Foundation.


MAY 2020
  • PBCHRC Board Member Jasmin Lewis elected delegate to Democratic National Convention.
  • The 2020 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards are presented to graduating seniors Kyle Ahern and Theo Shusterman of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, and to Endora Guillaume of Park Vista Community High School


APRIL 2020
  • The Boynton Beach City Commission unanimously votes to designate all single-occupancy restrooms in municipal properties "All Gender."
  • PBCHRC becomes a “trusted voice” for the County efforts regarding the 2020 U.S. Census.

MARCH 2020 
  • Ty Penserga, an openly gay man, was re-elected to the Boynton Beach City Commission and became the city's Vice Mayor.
  • Ray Caranci, an openly gay man, is elected to the Haverhill Town Council.

FEBRUARY 2020
  • Palm Beach County‘s Facilities Development & Operations Department designates single-occupancy restrooms in properties owned and leased by the County as “All Gender.”
  • PBCHRC Board Member Tamara Sager joins the Palm Beach County Multicultural Committee and Complete Count Committee.

JANUARY 2020
  • The City of West Palm Beach designates the single-occupancy restrooms in the City Hall Complex as "Gender Neutral."

NOVEMBER 2019
  • Lake Worth Beach City Commissioners unanimously adopt a resolution aimed at eliminating bullying and harassment in city facilities and at programs provided by the city.
  • Palm Beach County, the Cities of Delray Beach and West Palm Beach, the Village of Wellington sign on to the appellate brief filed by the City of Miami Beach in opposition to the decision of an Orange County circuit court judge that nullified that county’s LGBTQ-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance.

OCTOBER 2019
  • The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation makes a grant of $1,000 to the Palm Beach Gardens High School Gay-Straight Alliance.

AUGUST 2019
  • The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation makes an initial grant to the University of Virginia to pay for the meal plan for a gay student, a graduate of Forest Hill High School, for each semester until he graduates, provided he maintains a C average.

JULY 2019
  • The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the definition of “sexual orientation" in the County’s Ordinance for Housing and Places of Public Accommodation from "male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice" to "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived."

JUNE 2019
  • PBCHRC establishes the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization created to fund educational scholarships and other charitable endeavors.

MAY 2019
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw establishes an LGBTQ Liaison Unit to promote a positive relationship between PBSO and the LGBTQ community.

APRIL 2019
  • PBCHRC President Rand Hoch is appointed to serve on the Government Efficiency, Budget and Taxes Policy Committee of the transition team for West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James.
  • The City of West Palm Beach is ranked the second-best city in the country for LGBTQ-friendly retirees, according to SeniorAdvice.com.
  • The 2019 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards are presented to graduating seniors Eric Burchill of Wellington High School and Kavyasree Chigurupati of A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

MARCH 2019
  • Ty Penserga, an openly gay man, is elected to serve as a Boynton Beach City Commissioner.

FEBRUARY 2019
  • The Lake Worth City Commission unanimously adopts a resolution urging state legislators from Palm Beach County to support the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act.
  • The West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously adopts a resolution urging state legislators from Palm Beach County to support the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Amicus Briefs Filed In Support of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County's Joint Petition for En Banc Rehearing of Ruling on Conversion Therapy Bans

Twenty-five cities and counties from across the nation have joined in an amicus brief filed by the City of Miami in support of the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County's efforts to obtain a rehearing of a ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit regarding the legality of ordinances enacted ito ban conversion therapy for minors.

The appellate panel was expected to rule only on one narrow legal issue: Whether preliminary injunctions sought by two conversion therapy practitioers were properly denied by Judge Robin Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southenn District of Florida.

The therapists sought the preliminary injunctions hoping to continue practicing conversion therapy on children pending a full trial on broader issue of whether local goverments could legally enact conversion therapy bans. 

On November 20, 2020, the panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the therapists, directing Rosenberg to issue the preliminary injunctions prohibiting Boca Raton and Palm Beach County from enforcing their ordinances. However, the panel also ruled the ordinances were unconstitutional, based on First Amendment grounds. 

"Two recently appointed appellate court judges ignored legal precedent, as well as extensive evidence that conversion therapy causes harm to LGBTQ children,” said Rand Hoch, PBCHRC's President and Founder. "As a result of this erroneous ruling, LGBTQ youth in Florida once again can be subjected to the psychological abuse caused by conversion therapy."

PBCHRC is Florida’s oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Over the years, PBCHRC has been responsible for the implementation of more than 150 laws and policies providing equal protections, rights, and benefits for the LGBTQ community.

Hoch, who served as Florida’s first openly LGBTQ judge, was one of the attorneys who drafted the ordinances.

In light of the adverse ruling, PBCHRC requested the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County to seek a rehearing by all twelve judges on the appellate court.

On Decemebr 11, 2020, the city and county filed a Joint Petition for Rehearing, taking the position that the panel's majority opinion ignored legal precedent, overlooked or misapprehended points of law, and deprived them of the their day in court to present additional evidence. 

In support of the petition, on December 18, 2020 the City of Miami filed an amicus brief. Jurisdictions which have signed on to the amicus brief include Alachua County, Florida; Bay Harbor Islands, Florida; Boynton Beach,Florida; Broward County, Florida; Covington, Kentucky; Cudahy, Wisconsin; Cutler Bay,Florida; Delray Beach, Florida; Duluth, Minnesota; East Lansing, Michigan; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Gainesville, Florida;; Greenacres, Florida; Kent, Ohio; Lake Worth Beach, Florida; Miami Beach, Florida; North Bay Village, Florida; North Miami, Florida; Oakland Park, Florida; Pima County, Arizona; Riviera Beach, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; South Miami, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Wilton Manors, Florida;

A second amicus brief in support of the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County was filed by the Florida Psychological Association and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, a third amicus brief was filed by the Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the American Association of Suicidology.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Palm Beach County, Boca Raton Challenge Appeals Court Ruling Overturning Conversion Therapy Bans

 By Jason Parsley, South Florida Gay News - December 11, 2020

Photo via Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County's Facebook.

Boca Raton and Palm Beach County filed a petition with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Friday asking the court to review a November ruling where a three-judge panel found their bans on conversion therapy for minors unconstitutional. 

It was uncertain if the county and city were going to challenge the ruling.

The petition is calling for an en banc review, which means all 12 judges would hear the case. The petition also states that the majority opinion overturning the bans “conflicts with circuit precedent” and its interpretation of “strict scrutiny” departs “from the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“The decision, possibly unintentionally, included language suggesting it constituted a final decision on the merits, even though the Court was merely reviewing the denial of a preliminary injunction; the Governments are entitled to their day in court to present additional evidence,” the petition reads.

According to Rand Hoch, the president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the judges in the majority should never have ruled on the merits in this case until a trial was held.

“Two recently appointed appellate court judges ignored legal precedent, as well as extensive evidence that conversion therapy causes harm to LGBTQ children,” said Hoch in a prepared statement. "As a result of this erroneous ruling, LGBTQ youth in Florida once again can be subjected to the psychological abuse caused by conversion therapy."

Judge Britt Grant, joined by Judge Barbara Lagoa, wrote the majority opinion. Both are appointees of President Donald Trump. Lagoa previously served on the Florida Supreme Court and Trump briefly considered her as his Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The controversial practice known as conversion therapy has been discredited by most professional medical associations and 20 states, and more than 80 counties and municipalities in the U.S. have enacted laws prohibiting the practice on minors.

The initial challenge to the laws in Palm Beach County and Boca Raton were brought by well-known local anti-LGBT therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton.

"Today's petition was filed in the hope that all 12 judges on the Eleventh Circuit will reverse the panel’s decision," said Hoch. “If the panel’s ruling is allowed to stand, all conversion therapy bans in Florida will be struck down. Moreover municipalities in Florida, Alabama and Georgia could be prohibited from enacting laws to provide protection against conversion therapy.”



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Palm Beach County To Stengthen Equal Employment Ordinance

Palm Beach County Commission

December 8, 2020

At today's meeting, Palm Beach County Commissioners unanimously voted to amend the county's Equal Employment Ordinance by expanding protection against discrimination to job applicants and employees at small businesses throughout the county

Currently, only employees working for businesses in Palm Beach County with 15 or more employees are protected from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, familial status or age.

However, employees working for small businesses throughout Palm Beach County -- those with between 5 and 14 employees -- should be protected from discrimination when the law takes effect following a final vote on January 12, 2021.
"The County's Equal Employment Ordinance is poised to be one of the strongest civil rights laws in the State of Florida," said County Commissioner Gregg Weiss, who brought the amendment before the County Commission at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC).

PBCHRC is Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Over the past three decades, PBCHRC has been responsible for the implementation of more than 150 laws and policies providing equal protections, rights and benefits for the LGBTQ community.

"Palm Beach County has been in the forefront of protecting workers from discrimination for the past three decades," said PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch. "Today, County Commissioners took one more step to protect women and minorities from discrimination in employment." 

 



Saturday, December 5, 2020

West Palm Beach Again Earns Top Score in LGBTQ Equality

December 5, 2020

The City of West Palm Beach has again earned a perfect score on Human Rights Campaign Foundation Municipal Equality Index (MEI) ranking of cities across the United States. Nationally, 94 cities earned perfect scores.

The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are of the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and city leadership's public position on equality. The 2020 MEI is the ninth annual edition and rates more than 506 cities on 49 different criteria from every state in the nation.
"The perfect score demonstrates the clear-cut commitment elected officials in West Palm Beach have made to the LGBTQ community over the past 30 years," said retired judge Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC).

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) is Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. PBCHRC promotes equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach. 

Since 1998, PBCHRC has been responsible for the enactment of more than 150 laws and policies providing equal protection, rights and benefits for Palm Beach County's LGBTQ community. 
“A top score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index is an extraordinary acknowledgement of the inclusiveness of City of West Palm Beach laws, policies, and services,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “Our city a great place in which for LGBTQ people to live and visit. I thank the Human Rights Campaign for this recognition, as well as the many people in our city who have helped make it possible.”

Of the 20 Florida municipalities participating in the MEI, only 7 (West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Wilton Manors) scored 100 points. 

Thanks to the city's leaders, West Palm Beach has long been in 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. The blue ribbon panel's final report included recommendations to improve the work environment for the city's lesbian and gay employees. Within months, those recommendations were unanimously adopted by the city commission. 

The following year, 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. In 1992, West Palm Beach became the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees

City leaders recognized that while the laws and policies had been put into place to help gay and lesbian municipal employees, action also needed to be taken to address discrimination faced by the city's lesbian and gay residents. Therefore, in 1991, the City Commission voted to prohibit the use of any public facilities or any public funding to any entities which had discriminated against members of a variety of protected classes - including gays and lesbians. 

In 1994, the city commission enacted the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance, which prohibited 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.) 

Weeks after the ordinance was enacted, the local Christian Coalition collected enough signatures to hold a special election to repeal the ordinance. However, then-Mayor Nancy Graham stepped forward to lead the "'No on 1!" campaign to ensure that the newly enacted gay rights law remained on the books.

After a bitter and divisive campaign, West Palm Beach voters soundly defeated the repeal effort 56% to 44%. This historic effort marked the first time that Florida voters defeated an anti-gay referendum.

Since marriage equality was slow in coming to Florida, during the period when same-sex marriage was prohibited, elected offricials in West Palm Beach repeatedly championed laws and policies to ensure that gay and lesbian municipal employees with domestic partners received the same benefits and take home pay as married opposite employees were entitled to receive.

Even when faced with federal laws that denied workers with domestic partners benefits granted to married employees, city officials found their way to provide them for city employees. The City Commission extended equal health insurance continuation coverage (COBRA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to city employees with domestic partners. They also provided federal tax equity reimbursements for employees insuring their domestic partners, since married employees were exempt from that taxation under federal law.

In 2015, the city commissioners updated the Equal Opportunity Ordinance by expanding the definition of "public accommodations" to prohibit consumer discrimination (e.g., "shopping while black"). The law also prohibits businesses in the wedding industry from discriminating against lesbian and gay couples. 

In 2016, City Commissioners also enacted the West Palm Beach Equal Benefits Ordinance, which required contractors doing business with the city to provide identical benefits to both married employees and employees with domestic partners.
 
Later that year, the City updated its health care plans to include trans care benefits to municipal employees.

Before year's end, West Palm Beach became the first city in Palm Beach County to prohibit the discredited practice of conversion therapy for minors.  Conversion therapy encompasses a range of discredited counseling practices by which health care providers or counselors seek to change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression through aversion treatment.   

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. 

Earlier this year, to address the concerns of transgender and gender-nonconforming residents, Mayor Keith James directed city staff to install new signage by year's end designating all single-stall restrooms in municipal buildings as "all-gender"
 
When presented with opportunities to amend the state's civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ people, Florida Legislators have repeatedly refused to do so. In contrast, 22 states (and the District of Columbia) protect their residents from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. Nineteen of these states (and the District of Columbia) also provide similar protections on the basis of their gender identity. 

"Since the Florida Legislature has repeatedly refused to enact LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights laws, it is imperative that municipal and county leaders throughout our state work diligently to enact local laws and policies providing LGBTQ Floridians with equal protections and benefits," said Hoch. "All LGBTQ Floridians, regardless of where they live or work, should be protected from discrimination and harassment."

To view the 2020 MEI Scorecard for West Palm Beach, click here.


Friday, November 6, 2020

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance Endorsements - Updated 1/15/21

The following candidates have been endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance for election or re-election in 2021:

Constance Scott - Boca Raton City Council Member (Seat C)

Monica Mayotte - Boca Raton City Council Member (Seat D)

Shelly Petrolia - Delray Beach Mayor

Adam Frankel - Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 1)

Ryan Boylston - Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 3)

Andy Amoroso - Lake Worth Beach City Commission (Dist. 3)

Susan Bickel - North Palm Beach Village Council (Group 2)

David Norris - North Palm Beach Village Council (Group 4)

Joseph Peduzzi - West Palm Beach City Commission (Dist. 4)


The following elected officials endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance currently hold office:

President Joe Biden and Vice President  Kamala Harris


U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch

U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel

U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings


Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services Nikki Fried


State Senator Lori Berman

State Senator Tina Polsky

State Senator Bobby Powell


State Representative Joe Casello

State Representative Omari Hardy

State Representative Kelly Skidmore

State Representative David Silvers

State Representative Emily Slosberg

State Representative Matt Whilhite


Clerk & Comptroller Joseph Abruzzo

Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon

Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks

Public Defender Carey Haughwout

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw

State Attorney Dave Aronberg 

Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link


County Commissioner Mack Bernard

County Commissioner Dave Kerner

County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay

County Commissioner Maria Sachs

County Commissioner Gregg Weiss

County Commissioner Robert S. Weinroth


School Board Member Marcia Andrews

School Board Member Alexandria Ayala

School Board Member Frank Barbieri. Jr.

School Board Member Karen Brill

School Board Member Barbara McQuinn

School Board Member Debra Robinson

School Board Member Erica Whitfield


Port Commissioner Joseph Anderson

Port Commissioner Blair Ciklin

Port Commissioner Jean Enright

Port Commissioner Wayne Richards

Port Commissioner Katherine Waldron


Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen 

Circuit Court Judge Jaimie Goodman

Circuit Court Judge Dina Keever-Agrama

Circuit Court Judge James Martz

Circuit Court Judge Lisa Small


County Court Judge Ted Booras County

County Court Judge Marni Bryson

County Court Judge Frank Castor

County Court Judge Edward Garrison

County Court Judge Debra Moses Stephens 

County Court Judge Ashley Zuckerman


Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Rob Long

Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Michelle Sylvester

Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Eva Webb


Northern PBC Improvement District Member Ellen Baker 


Boca Raton City Mayor Scott Singer

Boca Raton City Council Member Monica Mayotte


Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Justin Katz

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Ty Penserga

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Christina Romelus

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Woodrow Hay


Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia

Delray Beach Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston

Delray Beach City Commissioner Adam Frankel

Delray Beach City Commissioner Shirley Johnson


Greenacres City Councilwoman Paula Bousquet

Greenacres City Councilwoman Judith Dugo

Greenacres City Councilman Jonathan Pearce


Haverhill Town Councilman Ray Caranci


Lake Worth Beach Mayor Pam Triolo

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Andy Amoroso

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Scott Maxwell

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Herman Robinson


North Palm Beach City Council Member Darryl Aubrey 


Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Julie Araskog

Palm Beach Town Councilman Lew Crampton

Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Danielle Hickox Moore


Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Rachelle Litt

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Mark Marciano

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Chelsea Reed


Riviera Beach City Councilwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson


Royal Palm Beach Village Mayor Fred Pinto

Royal Palm Beach Village Councilwoman Selena Samois


Wellington Village Councilman John McGovern

Wellington Village Councilman Michael Napoleone

Wellington Village Councilwoman Tanya Siskind


West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christina Lambert

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joe Peduzzi

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Cory Neering

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf