St. Paul and Minneapolis earned the highest score possible on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index released on Monday. The two cities were among 60 across the country that rated a perfect 100 points on the index, and were part of the Great Lakes region that had the highest proportion of cities with perfect scores. All eight of the Minnesota cities surveyed scored above the national average except Minnetonka.
Here are the rankings:
Saint Paul 100
Eden Prairie 62
Saint Cloud 59
Here’s how the cities scored and why:
St. Paul scored 100 points, the most possible on the index. The city picked up several bonus points for having an enforcement mechanism in Human Rights Commission, providing services to people living with HIV, and electing or appointing LGBTQ municipal leaders. When the bonus point are added to the score, technically St. Paul scored 105 points.
Minneapolis scored 100 points, the highest possible. Though the scoring is capped at 100 points, there are bonus points available and Minneapolis garnered two of them for having an enforcement mechanism in Human Rights Commission. Tecnically, the city scored 102.
Duluth scored 66 points in 2016. The city got 71 last year, but lost points this year because of HRC’s changes in methodology. The city 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). Duluth picked up two bonus points: Enforcement mechanism in Human Rights Commission
Eden Prairie was new to the index in 2016. The city scored a 62 and lost points for lacking protections based on gender identity, lacking an LGBT police or mayoral liaison, lacking pro-equality lobbying efforts, and not providing transgender-inclusive health insurance plans for employees.
Rochester scored 62 points (compared to 69 points in 2015) and was one of the only cities to have gender identity included in its nondiscrimination ordinance and policies. 69 but lost points for lacking transgender-inclusive health care, lacking a contractor nondiscrimination policy, lacking an LGBT police or mayoral liaison, no enforcement mechanism for human rights violations, and no openly LGBT elected officials.
Bloomington maintained the same score as 2015: 59 points. The city lost points for lacking a nondiscrimination policy in city employment that covers gender identity or a policy barring discrimination by contractors, lacking transgender-inclusive health care, lacking contractor nondiscrimination policies, having no LGBTQ police liaison or mayoral liaison, and lacking pro-equality lobbying efforts.
St. Cloud scored 59 point in 2016, the same as 2015. The city 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.
Minnetonka was added to the index for the first time in 2016, and the city scored the lowest of the eight cities surveyed with only 54 points, one point shy of the national average. Minnetonka got an automatic 30 points because the state forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and because of the state’s anti-bullying laws. The city got points for having a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation, and because it shares hate crimes data with the FBI. On all other measures, the city lost points.