Philadelphia Gets a Perfect Score on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index
Philadelphia received top honors in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, or MEI. A rigorous series of criteria must be met in order to score perfectly on this nationwide evaluation of municipal law, and not only did Philly get a 100, the city was highlighted as a “Success Story” in the HRC’s publication.
405 municipalities were ranked in the 2015 survey, and only 11% scored a 100. The index looked at five key factors, including the city’s non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city’s relationship with the LGBT community. Cities surveyed included all 50 state capitals and at least the five largest municipalities in each state.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh scored 95, New Hope scored 84, Allentown scored 82, State College scored 73, Harrisburg scored 68, Reading scored 58, and Erie scored 57. In New Jersey, Jersey City also received a 100, Lambertville scored 88, and Trenton scored 70, while other cities, such as Asbury Park and Newark, scored in the 60’s and below. Delaware fared much worse, with the highest score coming out of Rehoboth Beach with a 65. Newark scored a 64, and the rest scored in the 50’s and below.
The MEI also includes an open letter from Nellie Fitzpatrick, Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs Director, who outlines a series of accomplishments that the city has made over the last several years, including the recent passage of the gender-neutral bathroom legislation, the formation of the Greater Philadelphia Gay Officer Action League (GOAL), and the first official trans pride flag raising ceremony.
She added, “It is my distinct honor to stand on the shoulders of the pioneering Philadelphians who came before me to help organize and energize this large scale response, and to continue to lead Philadelphia towards true equity for all. Let’s get stuff done.”
Some other interesting data from the MEI include:
- Cities that elect openly LGBT leadership scored 83% higher compared to cities without LGBT leadership.
- 100% of the “100 point cities” report hate crimes to the FBI.
- 32 million people live in cities that cover transgender individuals at the city level alone.
- 22% of transgender people who had interacted with police “reported bias-based harassment from police, and nearly half said they were uncomfortable turning to the police for help.”
- 66% of Fortune 500 Companies offer domestic partner health benefits.
- 91% of the cities scoring 100 “had an LGBT liaison in the police department.”
You can read the full report here.