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Standards for Credit on the MEI

Scoring for the MEI 2015 changed from scoring in previous years due to the changing legal landscape across the nation.

Scorecard Criteria Revisions

Please refer to the revised 2015 scorecard available here.  Changes to standard points are as follows:

Changes to standard points on the revised scorecard are as follows:

  • Relationship recognition has been eliminated as criteria for scoring. This includes the elimination of domestic health benefits, legal dependent benefits, equivalent family leave, and equal benefits for city contractors;
  • Non-discrimination will be weighted more heavily with ten points each for employment, housing, and public accommodations. For a municipality as an employer, non-discrimination in city employment and contractor non-discrimination ordinance or policy will each receive an increase of two points; Also
  • LGBT liaison/Task force to the police department and hate crimes reporting will each receive two additional points; and
  • Transgender inclusive health care will see an increase from four to six standard points.

Bonus points on the revised scorecard have been altered as follows:

  • As mentioned above, relationship recognition is no longer included in the standard criteria. Because of this, grossing up employee benefits is no longer necessary as criteria for bonus points; and
  • Resisting Dillon's Rule will receive two additional points making this category worth four total bonus points.

 In total, the MEI will continue to reflect 100 standard points and 20 bonus points.

SECTION I. NON-DISCRIMINATION LAWS

• Non-Discrimination in Employment, Housing, and Public Accommodations (Up to 30 points). This category evaluates whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited within the city in areas of private employment, housing, and public accommodations. In each category, cities receive 5 points for prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and 5 points for prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. All non-discrimination laws ought to be fully inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and acknowledging sexual orientation-only protections as simply that does not imply they are sufficient; they are not.

SECTION II. MUNICIPALITY AS EMPLOYER

• Non-Discrimination in City Employment (6 points for sexual orientation/6 points for gender identity). This can be established either via an enumerated municipal ordinance that expressly includes city employees or via an enumerated equal employment opportunity policy adopted by the municipality. If the city has an employment non-discrimination ordinance that enumerates sexual orientation and gender identity the city is NOT presumed to be covered by that ordinance; the ordinance must either specifically address city employees or the ordinance must be incorporated by reference in city employment policies. If state or county law is enumerated to include sexual orientation or gender identity this too may be incorporated by reference. An unenumerated non-discrimination policy or ordinance will not be sufficient to earn credit.

• Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Benefits (6 points). The municipality must provide at least one health insurance plan that provides coverage for transgender healthcare needs (sex reassignment surgeries, hormone replacement therapy, and other gender-affirming care). The policy must affirmatively include gender-affirming care; a lack of exclusion is not sufficient for an award of points because this care is routinely not covered.

• City Contractor Non-Discrimination Ordinance or Policy (3 points for sexual orientation/3 points for gender identity). These can be established through municipal ordinances or policies that mandate all city contractors to have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Partial credit may be awarded where the city gives a bidding preference to a city contractor with an inclusive non-discrimination policy.

• BONUS: Inclusive Workplace (2 bonus points). This section assesses whether a municipality has LGBT-specific programming to attract LGBT applicants and promote diversity in the workplace. Cities will receive credit if they have any of the following: an employee pride alliance, diversity training that is inclusive of LGBT issues, or a recruitment program that actively advertises to the LGBT community.

SECTION III. MUNICIPAL SERVICES

• Human Rights Commission (5 points). A commission or council tasked with eliminating discrimination in a city. Starting in 2014, this commission will be worth four standard points if its purpose is largely or entirely educational. The commission may hold community discussions, screen movies, present panels, take public comment, advise the city on matters of diversity and inclusion, develop policies and strategies for making the city more inclusive, and undertake other similar types of endeavors. The commission must have met recently (within the last three years) and a federal EEOC office located in a city does not garner credit unless the city has contracted with them for the services described above.

• LGBT Liaison to City Executive (5 points). To receive credit in this category, there must be an officially designated liaison to the LGBT community in the city executive’s office. The function of a liaison is not simply to be a resource for the city executive, but also to be a resource for the public to elevate the concerns of the LGBT community and ensure they are being heard. Therefore, the liaison’s contact information must be made available to the public through the city’s website or where other city officials’ contact information is published. LGBT persons who work in the city executive’s office do not qualify for credit in this category unless their service in this capacity is part of his or her official job; however, LGBT liaisons may have additional job functions unrelated to LGBT issues. Please note that credit is given in part V for openly LGBT city elected or appointed officials.

• Enumerated Anti-Bullying School Policies (3 points for sexual orientation/3 points for gender identity). To receive credit in this category, a city or county ordinance, state statute, or school district/school board policy must specifically prohibit bullying and enumerate the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds upon which to bully. Anti-harassment policies that are enumerated and include language that encompasses bullying will be given credit, but hazing or harassment policies that do not encompass bullying will not receive credit. Where there are multiple schools or districts in the city limits, credit will only be given at the local level if all schools within city limits have enumerated anti-bullying policies.

• BONUS: Enforcement Mechanism for Human Rights Commission (3 bonus points). Where, in addition to the functions listed above, a Human Rights Commission has the authority to conciliate, issue a right to sue letter, or otherwise enforce non-discrimination protections, that commission will earn three bonus points in addition to the four standard points awarded above

• BONUS: City provides services to/supports LGBT youth (2 bonus points). Cities that directly provide services for LGBT youth, fund organizations that provide these services, or provide other meaningful types of support (in-kind, use of city facilities, etc.) for organizations that support LGBT youth will receive two bonus points.

• BONUS: City provides services to/supports LGBT homeless (2 bonus points). Cities that directly provide services for LGBT homeless people, fund organizations that provide these services, or provide other meaningful types of support (in-kind, use of city facilities, etc.) for organizations that support LGBT homeless people will receive two bonus points.

• BONUS: City provides services to/supports LGBT elderly (2 bonus points). Cities that directly provide services for LGBT elders, fund organizations that provide these services, or provide other meaningful types of support (in-kind, use of city facilities, etc.) for organizations that support LGBT elders will receive two bonus points.

• BONUS: City provides services to/supports people living with HIV or AIDS (2 bonus points). Cities that directly provide services for people who are HIV positive or living with AIDS, fund organizations that provide these services, or provide other meaningful types of support (in-kind, use of city facilities, etc.) for organizations that support people who are HIV positive or living with AIDS will receive two bonus points.

SECTION IV. LAW ENFORCEMENT

• LGBT Police Liaison or Task Force (10 points). To get credit in this category, there must be an officially designated liaison to the LGBT community or task force charged with addressing LGBT issues. An LGBT Liaison or task force must be publicly known in order to receive credit. The function of a liaison is not simply to be a resource for the department, but also to be a resource for the public to elevate the concerns of the LGBT community and ensure they are being heard. Therefore, the liaison’s contact information must be made available to the public through the city’s website or where other police contact information is published. LGBT police officers, including high-ranking officers, do not qualify for credit in this category unless their service as liaison is part of his or her official job. Partial credit will be given in this category where the entire police force is trained on LGBT issues.

• Reported 2013 Hate Crimes Statistics to the FBI (12 points). The city must report hate crimes statistics to the FBI in all categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and either:

• Report a positive number of hate crimes in any category in 2013 (i.e. report more than “0” for hate crimes reported in any one or more of the protected categories), OR

• Report zero hate crimes in 2013 AND have reported a positive number of hate crimes, in any one or more of the protected categories, some year in the past five years. This second is to recognize that statistically it is possible that no hate crimes of any kind have occurred in a small city this year, but that it is highly improbable that no hate crimes of any kind have occurred in in the last five years.

SECTION V. RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LGBT COMMUNITY

• Leadership’s Public Position on LGBT Equality (5 points). This section grades, on a sliding scale from zero to five points, how pro-equality the city leadership is in its public statements. City leadership includes the mayor, city manager if applicable, city council, and other government officials. These statements may include joining a pro-equality association such as Mayors for Freedom to Marry, coming out publicly in favor of LGBT rights, supporting LGBT community organizations, etc. It also includes comments made during city council meetings or at other public events. As of 2014, this section also includes participation in Pride events and partnership with LGBT groups to create solutions to city problems.

• Leadership’s Pro-Equality Legislative or Policy Efforts (3 points). This section grades, on a sliding scale from zero to three points, how actively the city has been pursuing pro-equality legislation and policies. This includes ordinances introduced, whether passed or not, and city policies, as well as pro-equality city council resolutions.

• BONUS: Openly LGBT Elected or Appointed Municipal Leaders (3 bonus points). The criteria for points in this category is the person be a leader – have some kind of a senior elected or appointed position in the city – and that the person be openly LGBT. A state or federal elected representative from the city does not qualify, as the person must be elected or appointed to a position in the municipality being rated.

• BONUS: City Tests Limits of Restrictive State Law (4 bonus points). This category, which we formerly called “Resisting Dillon’s Rule,” gives credit to cities who have a state law of some kind that restricts the city’s ability to pass LGBT-inclusive ordinances and who take distinct actions to push back against that limit either by advocating for change or testing its limits. Simply being in a state with such restrictions is not enough to quality for these points. Many states do not have this type of law, which means many cities are not qualified to receive these points.

For further information about these scoring standards, please email mei@hrc.org.