Minnesota’s cities had a mixed record on LGBTQ equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index released last week.

St. Paul and Minneapolis earned a perfect score of 100 on the index. In fact, both cities earned extra credit on the index and technically scored 103 and 102, respectively. St. Paul led the pack, in part, because of it provides services to people living with HIV. Both cities scored extra because they enforce non-discrimination laws through their human rights commissions.

The cities on the index were selected in a variety of ways, according to the report:

These include: the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities (including undergraduate and graduate enrollment), 75 cities and municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state groups members and supporters.

Minnesota cities start with a minimum of 36 points on the index thanks to state laws — specifically the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act.

Two Minnesota cities scored below the national average of 57 points.

Bloomington scored lowest among Minnesota cities on the index at 47 points. The city lost points for not protecting gender identity in city employment, lacking transgender healthcare benefits, lacking a city contractor non-discrimination ordinance, no LGBTQ police liaison, failing to report hate crimes data, and not engaging in LGBTQ policy efforts. It avoided having the lowest possible score in Minnesota by having a nondiscrimination ordinance that covers sexual orientation.

Minnetonka barely beat Bloomington on the list with a score of 48 points. It gained on Bloomington by reporting hate crimes statistics which carries slightly more weight than having a nondiscrimination ordinance which it lacks.

Six cities scored above the national average.

Saint Cloud barely beat the average at 59 points

Eden Prairie scored 62 points,

Rochester came in at 63 points.

Duluth scored 66 points.

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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.

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