CHAD GRIFFIN: "Equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has taken unprecedented steps forward."
The Human Rights Campaign
yesterday released the second annual edition of their Municipal Equality Index
, which measures cities and towns on the basis of how inclusive their laws and policies are of LGBT people. The study looked at 291 municipalities across the country and rated them on a 100-point scale. Factors that went in to the score include "non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, relationship recognition, inclusive city services and leadership on matters of equality" (the index only looks at municipal laws and policies: it isn't a measure of the best places for LGBT people to live, and it focuses on municipal, not state, laws).
Twenty-five municipalities received a perfect score of 100; the average score was 57. You can read the full study here
. One thing to note is that cities of all sizes rated well — only six of the 25 that got a perfect score have populations of more than one million people.
In an introductory letter, HRC president and Arkansas native Chad Griffin
writes, "From Vicco, Kentucky to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to San Antonio, Texas, fairness and equality are surging ahead. In every corner of America, local governments are taking action, even where statewide protections are missing. For the first time, Southern cities are among those scoring 100 points on the MEI."
So how did Arkansas municipalities do? Not so hot. Fayettville was only a little below average at 46. But Fort Smith (16), Little Rock (21) and North Little Rock (17) were near the bottom nationally.
Could be worse. Here are the places that scored in the single digits (or pulled off an ugly zero): Birmingham, AL, Port Saint Lucie, FL, Fairbanks, AL, Kansas City, KS, Baton Rouge, LA, Southaven, MS, Starkville, MS, Bellevue, NE, Laredo, TX, Lubbock, TX.
This may be cold comfort to the LGBT community but I've been to most of those places and most of them are dumps.