On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign released LGBTQ equality scores for 506 U.S. cities, including eight in Utah. The average score for Utah cities was 40 out of 100.
The Municipality Equality Index is the only report of its kind in the United States. The index gives a score out of 100 possible points based on how LGBTQ-friendly a city’s laws and policies are.
“We’re looking for cities to have non-discrimination policies for their employees, to provide inclusive healthcare benefits for transgender city employees, and looking to ensure that city contracts go to businesses that don’t discriminate,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the HRC.
The index is also based on municipal services, law enforcement, and how city officials speak out about LGBTQ rights. The HRC partnered with the Equality Federation Institute to create the sixth annual report, which was released on Thursday.
“This year, the national average was a 57,” Warbelow said. “With the exception of Salt Lake, all of the cities that are scored in our Municipal Equality Index do fall below that level.”
Salt Lake City leads the state with a rating of 69. Ogden is next, with 47 points. Park City follows with 38. Logan, Provo, West Jordan and West Valley are all tied with 35. Orem is the low outlier of the scored cities with 23 points.
Warbelow said in addition to non-discrimination policies for city employees and city contracts, Salt Lake City has made other important steps toward LGBTQ equality.
“Salt Lake City has a human rights commission,” Warbelow said. “That’s a body people can go to when they experience discrimination.”
Warbelow said one of the key ways Utah cities can improve is through making public spaces and public services more inclusive and that the HRC and their partners at Equality Utah are more than happy to help cities that want to improve.