GayRealEstate.com chose the top 5 warm climate cities with the friendliest LGBT policies in part on the cities that received high scores in the Human Rights Campaign 2013 Municipal Equality Index, MEI, 2013 report. HRC is the largest civil rights organization working for equal rights for LGBT Americans. Their ratings are based on factors including anti-discrimination laws and relationship recognition.
Our choice for the top 5 warm climate cities are San Diego, CA., Atlanta, GA., Austin, TX., Phoenix, AZ. and New Orleans, LA.
#1 San Diego, California
San Diego lies on the Pacific Ocean coast in Southern California close to the border of Mexico and has miles of ocean and bay shoreline, hills, valleys, mountains and desert. The climate is semi-arid with an average high of 77 degrees in the summer and 49 degrees in the winter. The weather tends to be humid during the summer months but is generally mild and sunny.
There is a large and active LGBT community in San Diego. Hillcrest is the city’s uptown gay village. It is a charming neighborhood that contains many supportive businesses and organizations including boutiques, cafés and shops. Numerous LGBT events are held throughout the year including an annual Pride parade.
Same Sex marriage is legal in the State of California.
#2 Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the North Central part of the state. The city is hilly and surrounded by forests. The climate is subtropical with average highs of 70 degrees and high humidity in the summer and 52 degrees in the winter.
Atlanta has a vibrant gay community that participates in local events including Pride festivals. Midtown is the cultural hub of gay life with art restaurants, galleries, theatres, nightclubs and lounges.
Georgia residents may enter into legal domestic partnerships through the domestic partnership registry program. The city government has policies in place and advocates protecting the rights of the LGBT community. A lawsuit was filed in April of 2014 challenging Georgia’s ban on same sex marriages and is currently pending in the court system. The lawsuit follows a string of successful cases filed in other states.
#3 Austin Texas
Austin is the capital of Texas and is located in Central Texas on the Colorado River. There are three manmade lakes within the city limits. The land varies from flat to rolling hills. Austin has a humid subtropical climate with temperatures averaging 98 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 42 degrees in the winter.
Austin has a large and diverse LGBT community spread throughout the city. There are many gay owned and gay friendly businesses in Austin along with LGBT sports teams and leagues. There are two Pride festivals held each year.
Austin is part of Travis County. The county maintains a registry of opposite and same sex domestic partnerships, even though the state does not recognize the agreements. In February 2014, a Federal judge ruled that the Texas ban on same sex marriages was unconstitutional. The state attorney general appealed that ruling and it is currently pending in the court system.
#4 Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital of Arizona. It lies in the northeast section of the Sonoran Desert in a flat valley that is surrounded by mountains. The climate is subtropical desert with relatively low humidity. The average temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 67 degrees in the winter.
The LGBT community is spread out over the city. There are many LGBT friendly businesses including restaurants, shops, bars and nightclubs in the Melrose District of Central Phoenix and scattered throughout the valley. Phoenix hosts numerous LGBT events including the Pride and the Rainbows Festival.
Same sex marriage is not recognized in Arizona. A lawsuit was filed in January 2014 against the state seeking recognition of same sex marriages that is currently pending. Earlier in 2013, Phoenix passed an ordinance that expanded protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability in employment, public accommodations, housing and government contracts.
#5 New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has a humid subtropical climate with average highs of 77 degrees during summer and 62 degrees in the winter. The city is bordered by waterfront on three sides and has numerous lakes, marshlands and bayous that expand out of the city.
New Orleans has had a well-established, vibrant gay community for decades that live throughout the city. Social life is mainly centered in the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. There are many gay friendly shops, restaurants featuring authentic Cajun food, theatres and museums as well as supportive groups and organizations such as The Community Coalition. Gay parades, festivals and events are held throughout the year.
Same sex marriage is not legal in Louisiana. The city of Atlanta does have a registry for opposite and same sex domestic partnerships, but the couples must both be residents of the city of one of them must work for city government. There are currently two lawsuits pending that seek to have same sex marriage in other states recognized by the state of Louisiana. To date, there are no lawsuits specifically seeking to overturn the ban on same sex marriages.