ST. LOUIS – 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 506 cities across the nation, including eight cities in Missouri. The 2017 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the sixth edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law. Missouri is one of the 14 states listed as being an “MEI All-Star State,” meaning a state that does not have LGBT supportive laws (see the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act) but still has multiple cities with a score of 85 or higher.
Of the 14 states without supportive LGBT laws, Missouri is top of the list with three cities with perfect scores. For the first time Columbia received a 100. In 2016 they received a 92. St. Louis has had a perfect MEI score six years in a row. Kansas City scored a perfect 100 again for the fifth time. Cape Girardeau was also added to the list of cities this year at a score of 3. The other four cities in Missouri that were rated included St. Charles (38), Springfield (21), Independence (18), and Jefferson City (0). The only city of these four to increase their score from last year is Independence, up one point.
The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories:
-Municipality as Employer
-Relationship with the LGBTQ Community
Last year eight cities in Missouri were rated including Cape Girardeau (3), Columbia (92), Independence (18), Jefferson City (0), Kansas City (100), Saint Charles (38), Saint Louis (100), and Springfield (21).
Steph Perkins, Executive Director of PROMO, stated, “We are proud of the municipalities that have gone above and beyond for their LGBT workers, residents, and visitors. In a state where people can still be fired, denied housing, and refused public services just because they are LGBT, we are grateful to cities and counties that know we can do better. We hope more cities look at these scores and follow in the footsteps of our THREE 100 point cities, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Columbia. We call on other cities and counties to review the MEI report and partner with LGBT organizations and community members to evaluate what steps they can take to make their region a better place for everyone to live, work, learn, and play.”
The full MEI report can be found at http://bit.ly/2017MEI