Washington, DC-- This week, Starkville became the first city in Mississippi to extend essential medical benefits to the partners of city workers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, commended the Mayor and Board of Aldermen for acknowledging the dignity and worth of LGBT citizens in Starkville.
“Loving LGBT couples should have equal access to medical care, and we applaud the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen for their leadership on this critical issue,” said HRC Mississippi Director Rob Hill. “This measure successfully provides the necessary benefits that the partners of hardworking LGBT city workers deserve, and the city of Starkville demonstrated its commitment to upholding the Golden Rule by treating them with dignity and respect.”
The item passed by a unanimous 7-0 vote Tuesday night. This week, Mayor Parker Wiseman also announced plans to appoint two LGBT liaisons to support the needs of and provide resources to the LGBT community, including working with the city’s police department. Earlier this year, Starkville was also the first city in the state to pass a resolution welcoming LGBT people and their families. The resolution recognizes all citizens should be treated with respect and equality.
According to a 2014 study by HRC, 57 percent of LGBT people surveyed have called Mississippi home for more than 20 years, however, almost half have experienced harassment in a public establishment; 41 percent of those earning less than $45,000 have experienced at work; and roughly a quarter have experienced harassment from a public servant like a police officer or firefighter. HRC Mississippi is working across the state to change hearts and minds, advance enduring legal protections, and build more inclusive institutions from the workplace to the church pew.
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