HRC Blog

Municipal Equality Index: Cities Investing in Equality

HRC’s newly released Municipal Equality Index celebrates progress in cities around the country and fosters a competitive spirit in regions with work left to do.

In a foreword to the MEI, NYU Global Research Professor Richard Florida makes the case for why cities should invest in equality.  As he writes, cities vie for tourism, tax dollars and jobs. In order to attract members of the creative class - one-third of the American workforce - cities and municipalities must treat LGBT citizens with dignity and respect.

The creative class places a huge premium on diversity and use such as a proxy todetermine whether a city will provide a welcoming and stimulating environment. The MEI articulates a path forward for cities who want to make their laws and policies more inclusive.

The MEI scored 137 cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, the municipality’s employment practices, and the inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership. 

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, although the average score was 59, four California cities earned top billing: San Francisco, San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles.

"On the one hand, we want to celebrate the places that are doing a terrific job," said Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel for State and Municipal Advocacy and the author of the index.  "The other side is we want to show cities what is left that they can do ... that they might not ever even [have] considered."

For more on the Municipal Equality Index, visit


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