by Stanley Ellicott | Today, The Human Rights Commission (HRC) unveiled its new Municipal Equality Index (MEI) in collaboration with the Equality Federation Institute and The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which rates the degree of LGBT inclusivity by municipal governments across the United States. The new index is a corollary to HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, the preeminent guide in which corporations are scored and ranked based on their policies and practices pertinent to the LGBT community.
The initial MEI surveyed 137 municipalities within 50 states, including each state’s capital, and cities with high proportions of same-sex couples. 11 cities scored a perfect 100%, while 25% of the 137 cities analyzed scored 80 points or higher out of a possible 100. The report underscored that much work remains to be accomplished within local governments, but progress is achievable.
According to HRC Foundation President, Chad Griffin, many of the LGBT community’s early victories can be traced back to innovative policies enacted by cities and municipalities, which have informed state-level policies, and business practices. The ambition of the MEI is to shine a spotlight on this form of municipal progress, with the hope of accelerating the development and adoption of LGBT inclusive policy in places with weak or non-existent protections.
The MEI is a powerful resource for municipal governments to comprehensively assess their current policies in relation to other cities across the country, while identifying opportunities for improvement and new smart practices.
The logic of the business case for workplace equality, an idea long championed by Out & Equal, remains just as viable and relevant within the municipal government space. Human capital is one of the most critical resources contributing to the success of any organization. The capacity to attract and retain the best employees, provide them the tools and environment to be fully productive, and to support their continued professional development is a clear competitive advantage. The competition for the brightest and best, optimally deployed and appropriately motivated, is a critical organizational competency. HRC bolsters this business case for municipal workplace equality by highlighting that cities are in competition with one another–competing for taxpayers, new development, employers and jobs–which sustain municipal budgets.