The 2013 Municipal Equality Index is the second edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, according to an HRC news release.
This year’s index found that cities across the country, including in Colorado, continued to support equality for LGBT people, even where states and the federal government did not. In Colorado, the average score for cities was 78 out of 100 points, above the national average of 57 points.
Colorado Springs scored 60 points; Aurora scored 66 points; Boulder scored 87 points; and Denver scored 99 points.
Studies have shown that inclusive communities are more likely to attract businesses and entrepreneurialism. Last year, 77 percent of residents surveyed in El Paso County said it was “very important” to have “a community that is accepting of differences in race, ethnicity, religious preference and gender orientation,” according to the Pikes Peak United Way 2013 Quality of Life Indicators.
Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 291 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – including the 50 state capitals, the 150 most populous cities in the country, the three largest cities in every state, the city home to each state’s largest public university, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples.
Twenty-five cities earned a perfect 100-point score, with policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits and cutting-edge city services. In 2012, only 11 cities earned a 100-point score.
2013 MEI at a glance:
Ten percent of cities scored more than 96 points; 25 percent of cities scored 35 points or fewer; and 3.5 percent scored 10 points or fewer.
“Here in Colorado, state and city leaders are taking critical steps to protect LGBT Coloradans and their families,” said Jon Monteith, communications director of One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBT advocacy organization. “We’re seeing this progress in communities across the country, as this year’s MEI demonstrates – but we also know our work continues to fulfill our vision of a fair and just Colorado where all are truly equal.”
The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories:
Non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; municipality’s employment and contracting policies;
inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership on matters of equality.
“Equality isn’t just for the coasts anymore,” said HRC President Chad Griffin, in the release. “This groundbreaking report shows that cities and towns across the country, from Vicco, Kentucky to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are leading the charge for basic fairness for LGBT people.”
Human Rights Campaign is the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. The MEI was issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute.
To view the full report, including detailed scorecards for each city and a searchable database, visit www.hrc.org/mei.