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Eight Michigan Cities Included In HRC Municpal Equality Index

Eight Michigan cities have been included in a new report put out by the Human Rights Campaign, rating their LGBT-friendliness. The HRC Municipal Equality Index 2013 looked at 291 cities across the country and rated them based on a number of gay-friendly criteria. It is the second year for the report.
The HRC report does not give a complete picture of equality in the states, simply a sampling. Their goal is to increase the number of cities evaluated each year.
In Michigan there are 31 municipalities that have enacted human rights ordinances. The growing amount of inclusive communities has LGBT leaders like Jon Hoadley of Unity Michigan hopeful. "Municipalities across Michigan are quickly saying yes to giving all hard working people the opportunity to provide for their families and be part of our local communities. In 2013, nine municipalities adopted nondiscrimination ordinances. Places like East Lansing added a domestic partnership registry. Local Electeds Against Discrimination is leading the way.
"HRC did a great job of moving the conversation forward on the role municipal governments can have in creating inclusive communities. Unity Michigan has been educating and advocating on the local level since 2009 for more nondiscrimination protections inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. We're excited whenever more attention is drawn to issues of equality at the local level, " said Hoadley.
In Michigan, out of a possible 100 points, Ann Arbor scored the highest with 88. East Lansing got 86. Detroit got 72. Lansing got 66. Pleasant Ridge got 60. Grand Rapids got 56. Ferndale got 45. And Warren got 15.

Scoring

The cities were chosen based on the "Fifty state capitals, the 150 largest cities in the U.S., the 3 largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities that are home to each state's largest public university and 75 cities and municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples."
The scorecards look at criteria including human rights ordinances, inclusive hiring practices, hate crimes reporting, openly gay officials, and relationship recognition as well as having LGBT-targeted programs.

Michigan Scoring

Warren got its 15 points because their school district has an anti-bullying policy that in enumerated, and because their police department reported their hate crimes statistics.
Ann Arbor did well by having a municipal domestic partner registry, having LGBT elected officials, offering transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to employees, and having a human rights commission. Some of the areas Ann Arbor fell short in were not having an LGBT liaison in City Hall, not having enumerated anti-bullying policies in the schools, and not having an LGBT police liaison or task force.
Pleasant Ridge topped their neighboring city of Ferndale by 15 points due to the more subjective criteria of "Leadership's Public Position on LGBT Equality," "Leadership's Pro-Equality Legislative or Policy Efforts," and "City provides services to particularly vulnerable populations of the LGBT community."
Pleasant Ridge also gained five points for having a City Contractor Non-Discrimination Ordinance, and another five for including transgender in their non-discrimination policy for hiring. Additionally Pleasant Ridge was given more points because they offer domestic partner benefits. Ferndale does offer these benefits, though that was left out of this report.



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