A new report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in America’s cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 137 cities across the nation, including two Minnesota cities. The Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, finds that while many U.S. cities lag behind in protections for LGBT people, some of the most LGBT-friendly policies in the country have been innovated and implemented at the municipal level, including in states with laws that are unfriendly to the LGBT community. The MEI was issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute. The average score for cities in Minnesota is 79 out of 100 points, which exceeds the national average. Minneapolis scored 91 points, and St. Paul earned a 67.
Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 137 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – these include the 50 state capitals, the 50 most populous cities in the country, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples.
According to the report, the 100-point cities in the MEI serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services. As America moves forward in support of LGBT equality, cities across the country are on the forefront of this movement. Cities in every region of the country are fighting for equality at the most intimate level of government. At the same time, cities across the country also have room for improvement. The MEI articulates a path forward and celebrates the success of cities doing this important work.
MEI at a glance:
Eleven of the 137 cities surveyed earned a perfect score of 100 points – these cities came from both coasts and in between, were of varying sizes, and not all are in states with favorable laws for LGBT people;
A quarter of the cities rated scored over 80 points;
45 percent of cites surveyed obtained a score of 60 or higher;
Nearly a third of cites scored between 40 and 60 points, showing good intentions on behalf of municipal governments but also opportunity for improvement; and
Just under a quarter of the cities scored less than 20 points, including eight cities that scored under ten points and three that scored zero.