HRC Rates U.S. Cities Based on LGBT Protections, Policies in New Municipal Equality Index

The Human Rights Campaign has released The Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law:

HrcThe MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership.  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.  Seattle and other 100-point cities serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services.

According to HRC, "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."

Find out how your city did HERE.


  1. Tatts says

    Weird. There are very serious omissions in that report. New Hope, PA is little more than an artist colony, yet there’s no mention of Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, etc. Hartford, CT, is listed but not the larger New Haven or Bridgeport. Where’s Buffalo or Syracuse in NY (and why is a dinky little town in the Hamptons represented)? Avondale Estates, GA, with less than 3000 people gets a listing, but not Athens, Savannah, Macon, or Augusta?

    This is really pretty pointless–a potentially good idea executed very badly.

    I haven’t read the report closely to see if they offer any explanation for these serious omissions, maybe after work I’ll tackle it.

  2. Steven H says

    Of course, my city wasn’t listed.

    Poor DC. No one considers you a state; and yet, you are also not a city.

  3. AJ says

    Confusing and weird. And I’m not an idiot. So is a higher score better? How does this even work? FAIL

  4. AJ says

    Oh wait. I figured it out. And apparently, Minneapolis is the end of the rainbow. Guess I will stay here.

  5. woodroad34d says

    That was a pretty confusing read. I’m from Michigan (now living in California) and, like @Tatts, there are several more well-known cities in Michigan (Kalamazoo, for instance–or Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Traverse City), that I think should have been mentioned…not Pleasant Ridge, wherever that is. What was the criteria for which cities were chosen?

  6. BillinSonoma says

    Quite frankly, it makes me wanna stop all contributions to HRC. Though the attempt to index cities and their policies is fairly admirable, it is woefully inaccurate and possibly dangerous. Anybody who would think policies for the community are better in Cheyenne Wyoming than West Hollywood has more than a math problem ! How about a simple eyeball test … walk hand in hand down the street and see how long it takes for a pickup truck to stop and attack you.

  7. Joseph says

    the caption above provides the rationale for the city selection:

    “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.”

    @WOODROAD34D: Pleasant Ridge is a suburb of Detroit (between Ferndale and Royal Oak) with a large percentage of same-sex couples.

  8. mike8787 says

    The comments here suggest a lack of reading comprehension, not a failure in the HRC report.

    1. Andy, why did you link to the detailed score breakdown, rather than the study? The pdf linked to misses nearly the entirety of the report. The real report is at

    Page 9 of the actual report explains why certain cities were chosen for this first report: They chose the 50 state capitols, and a designated mixture of the largest, middle-size, and small cities in the country, to give an image of how differently sized municipalities have fared (and to provide pressure and guidance to cities of ALL sizes)

    2. @BillInSonoma Again, reading comprehension. This is a report about LGBT treatment under municipal laws and policies, not about the general attitude in the city. The point is to grade and push city councils and other municipal leaders to pass LGBT positive ordinances and protections. It isn’t supposed to tell you what’s safe and what isn’t.

    The fail here isn’t on HRC. The fail is on this blog for linking to the data, rather than the report, and readers here for complaining without bothering to read the report.

  9. John says

    Also, HRC’s publications design team should be fired en masse / forced into an Edward Tufte re-education camp.

  10. says

    I am skeptical of anything the HRC releases, just before it was revealed that Target funded PAC’s that in turn funded anti gay causes, the HRC had rated them with a high score in being friendly towards the GLBT community.

  11. Terry says

    Sloppy work. Didn’t understand that it is the “City AND County of San Francisco,” so no doubt riddled with errors in places further off the gay map.

  12. Tatts says

    Okay, as I stated, I hadn’t read the report closely yet, but the first look at it this morning (scanning summary results and the data pages for a few cities) seemed decidedly odd–as I posted. I said that, given the serious omissions of major cities and inclusion of tiny hamlets, it seemed pointless, and “a potentially good idea executed very badly.”

    I take it back. It’s a bad idea executed badly.

    The survey design is completely arbitrary and pointless, leaving many states represented only by their capital city. South Dakota’s capital–Pierre–has only 14,000 people in it! It is a completely arbitrary grouping of cities and hamlets that leaves major holes in the data and leaves the state of much of the gay population of the country undocumented.