Human Rights Campaign released its 10th annual municipal equality index, which analyzes how inclusive cities are of the LGBTQ+ community, and NWA’s Fayetteville and Springdale made the list.
How it works: Human Rights Campaign measures across five categories — non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.
- Cities score points based on what their policies and what they offer with some room for "flex" or bonus points.
- For example, 12 points are possible under municipal services for having a human rights commission, a nondiscrimination ordinance enforced by the commission and an LGBTQ+ liaison in the city's executive office.
- Cities can also earn flex points under this category for things like providing services to LGBTQ+ youth or LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness.
Details: With 100 points possible, Fayetteville scored 44 and Springdale scored 7.
- Fayetteville earned 12 points for reporting hate crime statistics to the FBI, 13 points in the leadership in LGBTQ+ equality category, 14 points for non-discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and 5 points for having a human rights commission.
- Springdale earned 7 points for non-discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment.
Zoom out: Eureka Springs scored the highest of the Arkansas cities analyzed. It scored 61, followed by Little Rock with 60. Jonesboro earned zero points.
- Larger cities in our neck of the woods, including Austin, Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis all scored 100. Tulsa scored 78, and Oklahoma City scored 61.
Context: Municipalities only have so much say. State laws can make it harder or easier to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community depending on where you live.
- Fayetteville earned zero out of 30 points possible on the non-discrimination laws category but got three “flex points” for testing the limits of the state’s laws.
- You may remember the city passed an anti-discrimination ordinance in 2015 to prevent businesses and landlords from discriminating against LGBTQ+ individuals, but then the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled it violated state law.
Go deeper: Explore the reports here.
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