Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, in partnership with The Equality Federation, released its 10th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality regarding municipal policies, laws, and services.
This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year, illustrating the striking advancements municipalities have made over the past 10 years.
In Ohio, 8 cities were scored here in a state without statewide non-discrimination laws that protect the LGBTQ+ community in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations.
Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo all received perfect scores on the index, earning one of HRC’s MEI “All Star” designations. MEI All-Stars earned over 85 points despite hailing from a state without statewide non-discrimination statutes that explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Toledo received a 98 score and Lakewood received an 81.
Dublin, Ohio received a failing grade of 45, but this score was given before Dublin passed fully-inclusive LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections just this week, a move that would undoubtedly raise their score significantly to be an exemplary city in Ohio.
Even with Dublin’s now-faulty score, the average score for cities in Ohio is 91 out of 100 points, which falls 24 above the national average of 67.
“Ohio is where the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case emerged, bringing the nation marriage equality—yet we still don’t have fundamental, statewide nondiscrimination protections here at home,” said Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio. “Until the Ohio Fairness Act passes, we are counting on our municipalities to continue the work to protect LGBTQ+ Ohioans locally, and they are showing up. More than 33 Ohio municipalities have passed fully-inclusive local nondiscrimination ordinances, and tools like the MEI help localities make their communities welcoming to LGBTQ+ residents in myriad ways. Equality Ohio is proud to help our cities and towns improve their local policies so that LGBTQ+ Ohioans can fully access legal and lived equality.”
The report also contains an issue brief for policymakers that covers how municipalities can support transgender and non-binary individuals, as well as the types of challenges they face, ways that a city can support them, and guidance on forming an anti-transgender and non-binary violence prevention task force. Additionally, the report includes HRC’s Pledge for Local Elected Leaders to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women. 🔥
- Share the report to raise awareness of how Ohio is doing with regards to LGBTQ+ equality.
- Is your city on the list? No? Share this with your local legislators to provide a blueprint on how you can move forward to make your city the best place it can be for the LGBTQ+ community.