Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SA Now a Leader in LGBT Municipal Equality Index

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 10:27 AM

It looks like San Antonio is becoming a little more gay friendly.

click to enlarge 1280px-rainbow_flag_breezejpg

Creative Commons Images.

In an annual review of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality in cities across the country, San Antonio’s scored 86 points, going up 79 percent since last year. The recently passed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance and appointment of a City LGBT contact person likely contributed to the improvement.

The report, conducted by national LGBT civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, evaluates cities based on nearly 50 criteria under six general categories to come up with what they dub the Municipal Equality Index (MEI). Non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, municipality’s employment and contracting policies and law enforcement are factored into the grading process, according to HRC.

San Antonio received 12/18 points for its non-discrimination laws and 15/18 for municipal services. SA got a perfect 8/8 score for its relationship with the LGBT community, netting “bonus” points for having an openly LGBT appointed city leader, engaging with the LGBT community and for being “pro-equality” despite restrictive state laws (believe it or not, sodomy laws are still "on the books" in Texas.)

In its 2012 MEI, the group gave SA a below-average 48, a dismal score that resulted in direct action from the mayor’s office– at the start of the this year, the office named senior policy adviser Adam Greenup as the LGBT community liaison. “The low score was a real eye-opener for us,” Greenup told the Current in June. At the time, Greenup said he was confident this year's MEI score would reflect progress had been made in San Antonio.

Chuck Smith, executive director at Equality Texas, says municipal work around LGBT equality is “especially important” in Texas given the challenging makeup of the state legislature. He applauded San Antonio’s improved score and Austin’s perfect 100-points, but also pointed to nine Texas cities with low scores (Laredo received an abysmal 2 and Brownsville a 38) as evidence that there is “much more work to be done.”

The average score for Texas cities is 40 out of 100 points– still below the national average.

Nationwide, 25 cities received perfect scores (100 points) in 2013, an increase from last year. The average score was 57 points, with half of cities scoring more than 60 points. Some 25 percent of cities scored 35 points or less and 3.5 percent of cities scored 10 points or less.

Read the full report here: Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index 2013

Texas MEIs At A Glance:

Amarillo scored 16 points

Arlington scored 11 points

Austin scored 100 points

Brownsville scored 38 points

Corpus Christi scored 19 points

Dallas scored 85 points

El Paso scored 51 points

Fort Worth scored 91 points

Garland scored 17 points

Grand Prairie scored 21 points

Houston scored 63 points

Irving scored 16 points

Laredo scored 2 points

Lubbock scored 5 points

Plano scored 14 points

San Antonio scored 86 points

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