A report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in America’s cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 353 cities across the nation, including six cities in Missouri. The 2014 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the third edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law.
Kansas City made great strides this year to earn a perfect score on the MEI-up from an 89% in 2013. Improved benefits for same-sex spouses and appointing an LGBT liaison were just a few changes Kansas City implemented to achieve this great honor.
Mayor Sly James is happy to hear Kansas City ranked so high and proud of his team for making it happen. “I am proud of the progress our City has made to ensure the inclusion and fair representation of the LGBT community,” said Mayor Sly James. “Although we received a perfect score, we know we still have work to do to further embrace this valuable part of our community.”
The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories:
-Municipality’s employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage, contracting non-discrimination requirements, and other policies relating to equal treatment of LGBT city employees
-Inclusiveness of city services
-Municipal leadership on matters of equality
Last year five cities in Missouri were rated including Columbia (74), Jefferson City (7), Kansas City (89), Saint Louis (100), and Springfield (37). This year Columbia (70), Jefferson City (10), Kansas City (100), St. Louis (100), Springfield (27), and Independence (14) were rated.
A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director for PROMO, Missouri’s LGBT advocacy organization, believes the timing is just right for this report. “The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) has become an incredible tool for advocates on the ground. The road map it provides to local officials is a sensible way for supporters to advance basic equality issues and, at the same time, provide education on the impact of these broader issues.”
The full MEI report can be found at http://www.hrc.org/mei.