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Utah News

Scorecard: Utah LGBT Equality Varies Dramatically From City To City

Despite growing support for marriage equality nationally, the relative equality of LGBT people still varies dramatically from city to city, according to a new study.

The Municipal Equality Index, which was released this week, gives cities a score for LGBT equality out of 100. The LGBT rights group the Human Rights Campaign, which conducted the study, gave cities across the country scores based on things such as the presence of non-discrimination laws and relationship recognition. According to Cathryn Oakley, the author of the index, scores across Utah varied from 87 in Salt Lake City to 33 in Provo.

“Salt Lake is an example of a city that really has done a lot of the things that it can do to make sure that LGBT people are included in the city’s laws and policies,” Oakley said. “Unfortunately, that ends at the Salt Lake border and Provo has a completely different set of laws and policies that have put it in a different place.”

Oakley calls Salt Lake an all-star city for equal rights and said the city’s non-discrimination ordinance is one of the things that pushed its score above that of other measured cities in Utah.

Oakley said it’s cities like Salt Lake that are leading the country in the equal treatment of LGBT individuals.

“We see cities in other states, similar to Salt Lake in Utah, where cities are really doing a lot more for LGBT citizens than the state is doing for them,” Oakley said.

Despite Provo’s low score, Oakley said the national and statewide trend toward equality has been positive. The Utah cities of West Valley and West Jordan scored near fifty, close to the national average of 59.

“All of the cities in Utah really are in the hunt here, they’re around that national average, maybe not exactly there, but they are close and I think it’s really important and, frankly, inspiring to see that even for cities that still have a way to go there’s still a lot that they’ve been doing,” Oakley said.

This is the third year the Human Rights Campaign has conducted the Municipal Equality Index.

Click here to see how the scores break down.