The Municipal Equality Index looked at 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities, the five largest cities in each state and cities home to a state’s two largest public universities.
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Cities are ranked based on inclusive laws and nondiscrimination policies in areas including housing, employment, public accommodations and access to services.
Diverse. Inclusive. Welcoming.
— City of Orlando (@citybeautiful) October 19, 2016
According to HRC, the number of cities with perfect scores has increased from just 11 in 2012.
The report also found evidence of significant progress on transgender equality, noting that “Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 86 municipalities this year – up from 66 in 2015 and 5 in 2012 – and the growth of cities offering those benefits to their employees outpaces the growth in the number of cities rated.”
The cities at the top of the rankings are Phoenix, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; Detroit and New York City. Eight cities including Wasilla, Alaska; Clemson, South Carolina and Sheridan, Wyoming scored zero points.
Other key findings of the survey are:
87 cities from states without nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall nationwide mean of 55 points. These cities averaged 80-point scores; 22 scored a perfect 100.
Cities continue to excel even in the absence of state laws: 37 “All Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 31 last year, 15 in 2014, eight in 2013, and just two in 2012.
The average city score was 55 points. 60 cities, or 12 percent of those rated, scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 75 points; 25 percent scored under 33 points; and 8 cities scored zero points.
Cities with a higher proportion of same-sex couples, as tabulated by a UCLA Williams Institute analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, tended to score better. The presence of openly-LGBTQ city officials was also correlated with higher scores.
In a statement, HRC President Chad Griffin said:
“This year, dozens of cities across the nation showed they are willing to stand up for LGBTQ people in their communities even when state governments are not. This builds on a trend we have long observed: that local governments are at the forefront of our fight for equality. Unfortunately, our opponents have witnessed this progress too, and in recent years, anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have pushed spiteful legislation aimed at pre-empting local protections. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to not only fight for equality at the state and local levels, but to enact comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people under the Equality Act.”
3rd year in a row for my hometown. 🙂 Rochester Achieves Highest Score In Municipal Equality Index https://t.co/cP58YVrNZw
— Dave Wilson (@TiChall) October 18, 2016
New York Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio added that the city “prides itself on being an inclusive city for all, regardless of who they love or how they identify.”
You can check your city’s score here.