Thirty-eight cities scored 100 on the
Human Rights Campaign's third annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI),
which measures a city's support for LGBT rights.
“From Mississippi to Montana,
mid-size cities and small towns have become the single greatest
engine of progress for LGBT equality – changing countless lives for
the better,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
Cities scoring perfect marks have
increased steadily, starting with only 11 in 2012 and increasing to
25 in 2013.
“In just three years, the number of
municipalities earning top marks from the MEI for their treatment of
LGBT people has more than tripled,” Griffin said. “Simply put,
in this country there is an ongoing race to the top to treat all
people, including LGBT people, fairly under the law. It's time our
state and federal laws caught up.”
For the first time, the MEI took into
account whether a city offers transgender-inclusive health benefits.
One city highlighted for its dramatic
turnaround is Cincinnati, Ohio, which scored 100, a 10 point increase
over last year's score.
In 1993, voters in the city approved a
controversial measure which prohibited the government from
recognizing gays. Article XII said: “No special class status may
be granted based upon sexual orientation, conduct or relationships.”
Voters had a change of heart eleven
years later, repealing the ban. The victory, however, was only
partial, as Cincinnati voters joined in with the rest of Ohio to
approve one of the nation's harshest constitutional amendments
prohibiting the state from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with
either marriage or civil unions. A recent ruling upholding Ohio's
ban is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Today, Cincinnati recognizes gay
couples with domestic partnerships, offers benefits to the partners
of gay city workers, has an inclusive nondiscrimination policy and
recently added sexual orientation and gender identity to its hate
Other cities with a perfect score
include Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Palm
Springs, San Diego, San Francisco, West Hollywood, New Haven,
Orlando, St. Petersburg, Wilton Manors, Atlanta, Chicago, Iowa City,
Baltimore, Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, East Lansing, Minneapolis,
Saint Paul, Kansas City, St. Louis, Missoula, Jersey City, New York
City, Rochester, Columbus, Portland, Philadelphia, Providence,
Austin, Olympia, Seattle and Madison.
Three cities in Texas – Irving,
Lubbock, McAllen and Mesquite – and one in Mississippi –
Southaven – scored zero.
the full report.)