The Human Rights Campaign has released its “Municipal Equality Index,” which measures 49 different criteria related to a city’s equality practices. This year’s Index rated 506 cities across the nation, including eight in Kentucky.
The criteria are grouped under these headings:
- Non-discrimination laws
- Municipality as employer
- Municipal services
- Law enforcement
- Leadership on LGBTQ+ equality
Under each heading there are core measures, such as non-discrimination in city employment, and flex measures, such as city employee domestic partner benefits. The flex measures are added to the scores on the core measures, which means that a city can add the flex scores to the core scores to improve their overall score. No matter how high that may take a city’s score, the final score can’t be over 100. (You can see the entire rubric here.)
How our cities scored
Here is a table showing how each of the eight Kentucky cities scored.
Lexington, Covington, and Louisville all scored 100 or greater, with Lexington leading the way at 110. Even so, those three cities still have room to improve, since the total possible points is 122.
Frankfort and Morehead made passing grades, but just barely. Both had some good-sized deficits in their core scores, and neither gained any flex points.
Then there are the three failing cities: Berea, Bowling Green, and Owensboro. Berea at least got some points as an employer, while Bowling Green and Owensboro scored goose eggs in that category. And none of the three got any flex points.
The one positive across all eight cities is that all of them scored 20 points or higher (out of 30 possible) on having non-discrimination laws. That is a good starting point, for sure.
But this report also shows that most Kentucky cities still have work to do when it comes to being truly serious about LGBTQ+ equality in their city.
Update: A reader asked about Owensboro’s score for anti-discrimination laws. I looked and couldn’t find any record of such an ordinance. If they have one, it seems to be well hidden. So, take that part of their score with a grain of salt.
A note about other states
Just for comparison sakes, we looked at the scores for other states around us. Here is a sample.
Johnson City 12
Terre Haute 90
West Lafayette 70
South Bend 68
Fort Wayne 40
Cincinnatti, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Akron all scored 100
To read more about the Municipal Equality Index, and to look at other cities across the country, visit this page at the Human Rights Campaign site.