Cities across the country, including those in California, continue to take the lead in supporting LGBTQ people and workers.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, released its seventh annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI) this week, assessing LGBTQ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including 56 in California.
This system is based on a point score ranging from 1 - 100. San Diego got a perfect score. Other major Golden State cities that also scored 100 were Long Beach, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Oceanside to name a few.
But there are some cities that still need some work including those in San Diego:
Chula Vista did well with 99 but Escondido averaged a 60.
Overall California scored an average of 77 out of 100 which is still above the national average of 58.
"Even as California continues to serve as a beacon of hope for LGBTQ people across the nation, the Municipal Equality Index shows how much work we have left to do right here in our backyard,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We know the fight for civil rights and social justice doesn't end in Washington, DC or Sacramento, and Equality California remains committed to working with cities across the Golden State to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people — until the work is done."
The results of this year's index show that cities across the country, including those in California, continue to take the lead in supporting LGBTQ people and workers -- even in the current political climate.
"For LGBTQ Americans, legal protections and benefits vary widely depending on location -- states and cities have markedly different laws governing discrimination," the HRC writes in a statement. "21 states have non-discrimination laws that include protections for LGBTQ people in employment, and 20 states have laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in places of public accommodation."
The MEI debuted in 2012, and since then, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased substantially. Today at least 25 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state.
“From San Antonio, Texas to Brookings, South Dakota -- this year’s MEI again proves that there are no barriers to municipal LGBTQ equality for a city with dedicated, pro-equality elected officials,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Forward-looking leaders across the U.S. are stepping up, protecting their youth from so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ increasing anti-bullying protections, ensuring transgender city employees have access to inclusive health care benefits and protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in all areas of life. As we approach one of the most critical elections of our lifetimes, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that we help elect more leaders across the nation who share this uncompromising commitment to equality for all.”
Other key findings from the 2018 Municipal Equality Index include:
- 103 cities from states without comprehensive non-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall national average of 58 points. These cities averaged 83-point scores; 34 scored a perfect 100.
- Cities continue to excel even in the absence of inclusive state laws: 46 “All-Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 41 last year, 37 in 2016 and just two in 2012.
- The national city score average increased from 57 to 58 points. 78 cities scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 83 points; 50 percent scored over 58 points; 25 percent scored less than 36, and 15 cities scored zero points.
- Cities are protecting LGBTQ youth. 17 MEI-rated cities enacted local protections against the harmful and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”
You can read the full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, by clicking HERE.