Minneapolis and St. Paul are among just 38 cities across the country to receive a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.
HRC’s index scored four Minnesota cities, Duluth, Minneapolis, Rochester, and St. Paul, on a range of criteria: Non-discrimination laws , relationship recognition , municipal employment policies, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement , and municipal leadership on matters of equality.
Minneapolis and St. Paul each scored a perfect 100 on the index (both actually received 107 with bonus points, but scoring is capped at 100). Rochester scored a 70, and Duluth received a 58.
While Minneapolis and St. Paul received a perfect score on the index, it doesn’t mean the cities have a perfect record on LGBT issues.
All four cities automatically received a perfect score on the first two criteria (non-discrimination and relationship recognition) because LGBT non-discrimination has been state law since 1993, and marriage equality became a state law in 2013.
Municipal employment policies is where every Minnesota city on the list fell behind. None of the four cities provide transgender inclusive health insurance coverage, and all — including Minneapolis and St Paul — lost points.
Forty-two cities offer transgender-inclusive health care options to city employees, according to HRC.
St. Paul and Minneapolis picked up those missed points by enforcing non-discrimination laws within city boundaries, providing services for people living with HIV/AIDS, and having LGBT elected or appointed officials.
Rochester missed points by not having any ordinances that hold city contractors to non-discrimination policies. In addition, the city doesn’t have an LGBT liaison to law enforcement or a human rights commission.
Duluth missed points on a range of issues with just 55 points. The national average was 59 points.
“From Mississippi to Montana, mid-size cities and small towns have become the single greatest engine of progress for LGBT equality–changing countless lives for the better,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “In just three years, the number of municipalities earning top marks from the MEI for their treatment of LGBT people has more than tripled. Simply put, in this country there is an ongoing race to the top to treat all people, including LGBT people, fairly under the law. It’s time our state and federal laws caught up.”
Other cities in the Upper Midwest receiving a perfect score were Madison, Iowa City, Chicago, East Lansing, Kansas City, and St. Louis.