Florida city elects country’s second all-LGBTQ local government

By Alexander Kacala

Voters in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Tuesday elected the state’s first and the country’s second all-LGBTQ local government. Palm Springs, California, last year became the first locality in the U.S. to do so, according to the Victory Fund, which tracks lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer candidates and elected officials.

Justin Flippen, currently the city’s vice mayor, was elected mayor last week, and current Mayor Gary Resnick and newly elected Paul Rolli will fill the commission’s two vacancies. Scott Newton, the commission’s only straight member, lost his re-election bid.

Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen
Wilton Manors Mayor Justin FlippenJustin Flippen via Facebook

“In Wilton Manors, our goal is to serve as an example for other cities across the nation on how a municipality and community can prosper from being inclusive and accepting from policy to practice,” Flippen, a Florida native, told NBC News after the election. “Wilton Manors is a city where whatever color under the rainbow you most identify with, you are welcomed, affirmed and respected for who you are.”

Just north of Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors has the second highest rate of same-sex couples in the U.S., behind Provincetown, Massachusetts, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute, which used data from the U.S. Census Bureau in its research. According to the institute’s report, Wilton Manors has 125 gay couples per 1,000 households. San Francisco, for comparison, has just 30.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group, awarded Wilton Manors a perfect score of 100 on its annual Municipal Equality Index, which uses 49 criteria to measure how inclusive a community is for its LGBTQ residents and visitors. This year, 78 out of the 506 small, medium and large cities were awarded a perfect score.

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