WASHINGTON – Providence earned a score better than the national average on the Human Rights Campaign’s new report grading cities across the United States on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Providence, one of the 137 cities rated in the report, earned a score of 76 out of 100.
The report, released Monday, uses the Municipal Equality Index to rank cities based on their inclusion of the LGBT population in municipal law. The index rated cities based on 47 different criteria, which fell under one of six broad categories: non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, employment practices, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership.
Providence earned high marks for non-discrimination in city employment, domestic partner health benefits, a low instance of reported hate crimes statistics and city leadership’s public position regarding LGBT equality. The city also earned bonus points for having engagement with the LGBT community and offering services to particularly vulnerable LGBT populations, including the elderly, youth, homeless and people living with HIV or AIDS.
“We are fortunate in Providence to have dedicated leaders like Mayor Angel Taveras, Council President Michael Solomon and Majority Leader Seth Yurdin who believe that all families deserve equal rights, recognition and protection under the law,” Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Marriage Equality Rhode Island, said in prepared remarks.
“The equality index not only demonstrates that Providence is in the top quarter of LGBTQ-friendly U.S. cities, but it also identifies the important areas where we must keep working to create change,” added Sullivan.
Of the 137 graded, 11 earned a perfect score of 100 points – including both Boston and Cambridge, Mass. – a quarter of the cities rated scored over 80 points, 45 percent scored more than 60 points, nearly one-third of the rated cities scored between 40 and 60 points and one-quarter of the cities scored less than 20 points. Of that latter group, three cities – Montgomery, Ala.; Frankfort, Ky. and Jefferson City, Mo. – scored zero.
A release announcing the report’s results called the 100-point cities “shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits and cutting-edge city services.”
“Advances at the local level are often unheralded, but they are critical to building the momentum we need for statewide and federal victories,” Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation Institute, said in a statement. “The Municipal Equality Index not only recognizes the remarkable progress that state equality groups and local partners have made in cities and towns across the country, but is a powerful tool to help push local governments to do better.”