The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has given 68 U.S. cities, including Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis, perfect scores for having LGBTQ non-discrimination policies in housing and employment. The Municipal Equality Index also considers the relationship law enforcement has with the LGBTQ community and the services and programs for them. The organization’s Legislative Counsel, Xavier Persad, says the glowing reviews are despite Missouri lawmakers failing to pass these protections.
“These cities have taken the initiative of protecting their residents immediately,” says Persad. “City leaders are recognizing that these protections must exist and they must exist now and they’re not waiting on higher levels of government in order to protect their residents.”
More than 500 cities were included in the index.
“What we’ve also seen this year from last year is that every single region of the country increased their average,” says Persad. “Thirty-six states increased their state averages.”
On the flip side, the average score for the eight Missouri cities evaluated is 48, which is below the national average of 57. Jefferson City was one of six U.S. cities that was scoreless.
“Areas for improvement for Jefferson City would be passing a LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that covers housing, private employment and public accommodations,” says Persad. “Making sure that the city’s employment non-discrimination policy expressly covers sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Other Missouri city scores include:
St. Charles – 38
Springfield – 21
Independence – 18
Cape Girardeau – 3