Minneapolis via: wikipedia
Minneapolis via: wikipedia

The Human Rights Campaign released its annual Municipal Equality Index last week rating the nation’s largest cities on their efforts toward LGBTQ equality.

In Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul each scored 100 points, the highest possible score. The average score for U.S. Cities was 56; all Minnesota cities scored above average.

Minneapolis and St. Paul missed a few points by not having services targeting LGBT youth, LGBT homeless, and LGBT elderly, and for not having any openly-LGBT municipal leaders such as city council members (though other city elected boards do have LGBT members, it appears that HRC did not take that into account).

Mayors of both cities released statements on Friday.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said:

We should all take pride in the momentous strides toward LGBTQ equity Minneapolis has made in recent years. Our City has long been a leader in its recognition and protection of LGBT people but we must not rest on our laurels. There is much work to be done and much progress to be made and I am committed to being a partner in that work.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said:

From marriage equality to transgender rights, the progress we have made in the fight for equality for people of all sexual orientations is amazing. Saint Paul has long been a leader in supporting the rights of LGBT employees, individuals, and visitors. I could not be more proud of our efforts to support freedom and fairness for all residents and families.

Duluth scored 71 but lost points for lacking transgender-inclusive health care, contractor nondiscrimination, an LGBT police liaison, no pro-equality lobbying efforts, and no openly LGBT elected officials (though after November 2015, two members of the city council are LGBT; it’s unclear if HRC took that into account)

Rochester scored 69 but lost points for lacking transgender-inclusive health care, contractor nondiscrimination, an LGBT police or mayoral liaison, no enforcement mechanism for human rights violations, and no openly LGBT elected officials.

Bloomington scored 59 but lost points for lacking transgender-inclusive health care, contractor nondiscrimination, an LGBT police liaison or mayoral liaison, no pro-equality lobbying efforts, and no openly LGBT elected officials.

St. Cloud scored 59 but lost points for lacking transgender-inclusive health care, contractor nondiscrimination, an LGBT police or mayoral liaison, no pro-equality lobbying efforts, no enforcement mechanism for human rights violations, and no openly LGBT elected officials.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In a previous article you wrote:

    “These “right-to-discriminate” waivers were relatively rare until the last year. A handful were requested in the 1980s and 1990s, many by religious schools who wanted to ensure they could prevent women from being hired in leadership roles without running afoul of discrimination laws.”

    Do have any examples of these requests from the 1980’s and 1990’s? I would be very curious to see how these cases differ from the current ones?

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