Boston, NYC, Score High In HRC Municipal Equality Index. Palm Springs, Not So Much

Dec 03, 2012 by

The Human Rights Campaign, which is awfully fond of lists, has come out with yet another: the HRC Municipal Equality Index, which ranks cities based on laws and policies affecting the local LGBT community.

According to HRC:

The Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, finds that while many U.S. cities lag behind in protections for LGBT people, some of the most LGBT-friendly policies in the country have been innovated and implemented at the municipal level, including in states with laws that are unfriendly to the LGBT community.

Rankings were based  on 47  criteria divided into six broad categories: non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition,  employment practices, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership.

Overall, 137 cities were ranked, including all 50 state capitals and the 50 most populous cities in America, as well as the cities with the highest proportions of same-sex couples.

Out of the 137 municipalities, 11 received a perfect score of 100: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Long Beach, Portland, OR, and Cambridge, MA.

While a quarter of the cities rated scored higher than 80%, some historically friendly destinations, like Provincetown, ranked at or even below average. HRC explains that the survey does not measure the overall climate of a city—how friendly it is to live there—but just its laws and offficial policies.

Still, some feathers have been ruffled:  MyDesert.com called the survey “sloppy” for giving three cities in the Coachella Valley—Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage— less than favorable scores.  Rancho Mirage’s gay Mayor Scott Hines called his city’s 44% rating “degrading.” (The HRC has planned to send a representative to the valley to review the scores and maybe smooth some plumage.)

Download the entire Municipality Equality Index here.