Louisville Gets Perfect Score For LGBT Non-Discrimination Policies
Louisville received a perfect score for the very first time in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index, which analyzes the laws cities have to protect and support their LGBT residents.
Last year, Louisville received 66 out of 100 points.
Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said Louisville received a better score this year because metro government employees and local police went through LGBT sensitivity training.
“We are definitely one of the only Southern cities in the United States that has achieved a perfect score,” Hartman told WFPL News.
Another important change, Hartman said, is that Mayor Greg Fischer changed city policy and now requires that city contractors must have non-discrimination policies.
“This honor reflects our commitment to compassion, fairness and equality,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in a statement on Thursday. “It highlights our belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all, our belief that everyone has the right to be treated with respect.”
The HRC's Cathryn Oakley, who authored the report, said Louisville joined Southern cities such as Atlanta; Austin; Dallas; Orlando; St. Petersburg; and Wilton Manors, Florida, in receiving perfect scores.
Oakley called Louisville’s rating “a really big deal.”
Louisville was the only city in Kentucky to receive a perfect score.
“I think what we really see from this is that cities are moving forward on matters of LGBT equality, even if the state isn’t quite keeping up,” Oakley said.
An effort to add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents to Kentucky's anti-discrimination laws failed in last year's Kentucky General Assembly session.
The HRC report said 47 cities earned perfect 100-point scores this year, which is more than four times the number of cities since the rating debuted in 2012.
“At least 32 million people live in cities with fully inclusive local protections that are not guaranteed by the states in which they live,” the report said.
Other cities to achieve the top score this year include Detroit and Bloomington, Indiana.
The scores also only focus on what laws are on the books, though, which Oakley said doesn’t paint a perfect picture when it comes to experience.
“Sometimes a person can be in a 100-point city and not have a 100-point experience,” she explained. “So, we are not rating the experience, we are not rating the atmosphere, we are not rating the enforcement.”
Oakley said the laws cities enact or don't enact are important measures of whether a city is at least trying to be inclusive, though.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which funded the report, is the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization and is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for the LGBT community.
According to the HRC report, the city index ranks cities based on criteria that fall into five broad categories:
- Non-discrimination laws
Municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors
Inclusiveness of city services
Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting
Municipal leadership on matters of equality