Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are Texas cities gay friendly?

From the Human Rights Campaign:
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.

The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership.  Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 137 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – these include the 50 state capitals, the 50 most populous cities in the country, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples.  Seattle and other 100-point cities serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services. 
In Texas, HRC looked at 7 cities: Arlington, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, & San Antonio.  These are also the top 7 cities in the state in terms of population.  So how did they do?

Out of a possible 100...
Austin - 91
Fort Worth - 89
Dallas - 76
Houston - 52
El Paso - 49
San Antonio - 48
Arlington - 16

For San Antonio we scored:
0 points for Non-Discrimination Laws
0 points for Relationship Recognition
6 points for Municipality as Employer
10 points for Municipal Services & Programs
18 points for Municipality as Law Enforcement
8 points for Municipality's Relationship with the LGBT Community

We got bonus points for Services to vulnerable LGBT populations (2), Engagement with LGBT Community (2), & Success despite restrictive state laws (2).

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