HRC and Equality Federation rate 8 Utah cities in LGBT equality

In its fifth year, the Municipal Equality Index, a project of Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation, has rated over 500 cities in the United States in LGBT equality, including eight in Utah.

This year, Salt Lake City was given a 69 rating out of 100, a drop of 6 points since last year’s report. Differences found between the two years are a drop of three points for “Enforcement mechanism in Human Rights Commission,” and two points in “City provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS.” The report also dropped the maximum amount of points available by one for elected or appointed LGBTQ officials.

Lacking in Salt Lake City are public accommodation non-discrimination laws at the state, county or city level; availability of healthcare benefits for transgender employees of the city (Salt Lake County passed these benefits this year); a robust city contractor non-discrimination ordinance; and an LGBTQ Police Liaison or Task Force. Lost bonus points include: Municipality is a Welcoming Place to Work; Enforcement mechanism in Human
Rights Commission; City provides services to LGBTQ youth, homeless, elderly and transgender communities; and Cities are pro-equality despite restrictive state law.

Ogden was listed for the first time this year, and received a ranking of 47, receiving points for a city nondiscrimination ordinance in employment and housing, non-discrimination in city hiring, and the police department reporting hate crime statistics to the FBI.

Logan received only 35 points, being credited for a city nondiscrimination ordinance in employment and housing, and the police department reporting hate crime statistics to the FBI. In 2013 the city received only 23 points, but gained 12 with the FBI reporting.

Orem received 23 points, only because of the Utah state nondiscrimination laws. Last year, the report showed Orem with FBI reporting and a city human rights commission.

In its first year being reported, Park City received a 38 rating, with credit for city nondiscrimination laws in housing and employment and FBI hate crime statistics reporting, as well as a non-discrimination policy in city hiring.

Provo dropped three points this year to a score of 47 for the state’s non-discrimination ordinances, a city policy of non-discrimination in hiring, and FBI hate crime statistic reporting. Gone this year is a 3-point bonus for “Leadership’s Public Position on LGBT Equality.”

West Jordan received a rating of 35 for state non-discrimination policies and FBI reporting. A bonus of two points was listed last year for “City provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS,” which was dropped this year.

West Valley City dropped six points to a 35 rating for state policies and FBI reporting. Six points were no longer being counted for “Leadership’s Public Position on LGBT Equality” and “Leadership’s Pro-Equality Legislative or Policy Efforts.”

In Idaho, Boise received a rating of 61 and Coeur D’Alene 62 (half of which are for each city’s non-discrimination policies that cover employment, housing and public accommodations). Idaho Falls was at 53, Meridian at 24, Moscow at 50, Nampa at 18 and Pocatello at 59.

The MEI is a nationwide evaluation of municipal laws, policies and services and rates them on the basis of their inclusiveness of LGBTQ people who live and work there. Previously, the MEI chose cities based on several criteria including the 50 state capitals, the top 200 largest cities in the country, cities with a high proportion of same-sex couples, the top five largest cities in each state and the cities with the two largest public universities (undergraduate and graduate enrollment).

The MEI rates each municipality in five categories: non-discrimination laws, municipality as employer, municipal services, law enforcement and relationship with the LGBTQ community.

This year, 98 were added to the MEI to create a total of 506 cities rated across the country.

The full report is at hrc.org/mei.

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