Florida has highest percentage of same sex couples: Census study
The US Census Bureau reported in a study that the state of Florida, particularly the cities of Orlando and Miami, has the highest concentration of gay and lesbian coupled households in the country.
The new study by the Census placed the two cities in Florida fourth and sixth respectively in a ranked list of metro areas nationwide that had the highest percentages of same-sex couples.
The Census report focused on same sex couples, both married and unmarried. It does not include gay and lesbians who are single.
The same report noted that about 1.5 percent of all coupled households nationwide were same-sex.
Florida has most concentration of same-sex couples
Florida was once known as singer Anita Bryant’s anti-gay rights campaign. It was also known for its ban on gay and lesbian adoptions before this was removed in 2010.
However, the acceptance of the LGBT communities was driven at the local level with the passage of human rights ordinances, fast-growing populations from all the world, and gay-friendly companies.
“Miami is a port city and Orlando is the epicenter of amusement parks and hospitality, so it makes perfect sense,” Nadine Smith of Equality Florida told the AP.
“The cities have led the way for sure, rebuilding Florida’s image from a really hateful history,” Smith said.
Likewise, the massacre at the gay Pulse nightclub in 2016 spread acceptance into more conservative aspects of civic life like local churches.
Florida’s cities ranked among other cities
The study, which was based on data from the Census’ 2019 American Community Survey, cited the top ten cities known for their LGBT community, like San Francisco and Portland.
Likewise cited in the study were Austin, Boston, and Phoenix. Some unexpected surprises were Baltimore, Denver, and Phoenix.
However, three of the cities with the largest metros (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) and which had the most visible LGBT communities were not on the list as their large size diluted their concentration.
Because of the unexpected appearance of some cities, gay advocates noted that the tolerance isn’t limited to large coastal cities.
“You often think of LGBTQ people in large cities like San Francisco, but we’re everywhere,” said Jeremy LaMaster executive director of FreeState Justice, a Baltimore-based LGBTQ advocacy organization.
The top ten cities were ranged in concentration, from San Francisco’s 2.8 percent to Baltimore’s two percent. However, the District of Columbia– which was categorized along with states– had 7.1 percent.
Other noted cities in the Census’ list
For Phoenix, Angela Hughey, president of ONE Community, a business coalition that advocates for inclusion and equality, said this is due to a relatively young community with new arrivals always coming in.
“It’s a very broad city and we are in every neighborhood,” Hughey said told AP.
Meanwhile, LaMaster pointed out Baltimore has been leading in laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as allowing second-parent adoptions.
He admitted that, “The work isn’t done. That’s my takeaway. Even though there has been tremendous progress, I think there’s always room for improvement.”