Atlanta nabs perfect score in 2016 HRC Municipal Equality Index
The city of Atlanta scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) despite hailing from a state without LGBT-inclusive statewide non-discrimination laws.
The city therefore earned one of HRC’s 37 MEI “All Star” designations, which recognizes cities nationwide excelling by advancing LGBT equality without relying on state law. Atlanta also earned a perfect score in last year’s rankings.
Cities are graded based on five factors: non-discrimination laws, municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and relationship with the LGBT community.
“This year, dozens of cities across the nation showed they are willing to stand up for LGBTQ people in their communities even when some state governments are not,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. “This builds on a trend we have long observed: that local governments are at the forefront of our fight for equality. Unfortunately, our opponents have witnessed this progress too, and in recent years, anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have pushed spiteful legislation aimed at pre-empting local protections. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to not only fight for equality at the state and local levels, but to enact comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people under the Equality Act.”
The average score for cities in Georgia is 32 out of 100 points, which falls well below the national average of 55. Other Georgia cities graded included Athens (21), Augusta-Richmond (12), Avondale Estates (41), Columbus (38), Decatur (21), North Druid Hills (12), Roswell (11), Sandy Springs (22), and Savannah (44).
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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (back right) and other City of Atlanta employees participate in the 2016 Atlanta Pride parade. (File photo)