Capital City scores poorly as gay-friendly city

Jefferson City is the least gay-friendly city among five Missouri cities in a new study.

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 291 cities across the nation.

The average score for cities in Missouri is 65 out of 100 points, which falls above the national average of 57. Both St. Louis and Kansas City scored a perfect 100, while Columbia scored 74 points. Springfield scored 37 points, while Jefferson City had 12 points.

The 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the second edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law. The MEI was issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute.

Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 291 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – these include the 50 state capitals, the 150 most populous cities in the country, the three largest cities in every state, the city home to each state’s largest public university, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples. Twenty-five cities earned a perfect 100-point score, with policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services.

The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; municipality’s employment and contracting policies; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership on matters of equality.

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city and a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.

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