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 291 cities across the nation, including five cities in Missouri. The 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the second edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law.
In Missouri there is no statewide protections and relationship recognition law, however, two cities in Missouri scored a perfect score. This proves that municipalities in Missouri are acting to support equality for LGBT people. Twenty-five cities scored 100%; Saint Louis and Kansas City were among them. Saint Louis scored a 100% two years in a row. 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. Last year, Jefferson City, Kansas City, and Saint Louis were the only three cities that were rated. This year five cities in Missouri were rated including Columbia (74), Jefferson City (7), Kansas City (100), Saint Louis (100), and Springfield (37). Kansas City and Jefferson City improved their Municipal Equality Score since last year. A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director for PROMO, Missouri’s LGBT advocacy organization, believes the timing is just right for this report. “We are proud to see this index reflect what we have long known; both Kansas City and Saint Louis are very welcoming places for the LGBT community. For over two decades they have both led by example, an example we hope other communities will continue to follow.” The full MEI report can be found at http://www.hrc.org/municipal-equality-index.