The Human Rights Campaign released their 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The index evaluated cities level of support for LGBT people despite state regulations and policies.
The index includes 291 cities, or 77,851,822 people.
Every state capitol was included, as well as the three largest cities in each state. The index also focused on municipalities with the largest public universities, and cities with high proportions of same-sex couples.
Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Pleasant Ridge and Warren are the Michigan cities represented in the index.
To learn more about the challenges facing the LGBT community in Michigan, check out Michigan Radio's investigative documentary "Unequal by Law" from reporter Lester Graham.
Here's how Michigan scored (and some brief highlights about the numbers)*
*Scroll down for a description of how the numbers were calculated.
- Ann Arbor received an 88/100. The city got bonus points because it offers transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, which none of the other Michigan cities did. Less than 15/291 cities
offer transgender-inclusive health benefits.
- Detroit got 72/100. Detroit got a few gold stars because the city was forced to stop providing a domestic partnership registry as a result of state law. According to the MEI, only 5% of cities that the Human Rights Campaign evaluated offer healthcare benefits to transgender people.
- East Lansing scored 86/100. The city is recognized for engaging with the LGBT community and having openly LGBT municipal leaders.
- Ferndale's score is 45/100. This is kind of a low score, but city laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which boosted its score.
- Grand Rapids has a 56/100. According to the index, the city is a "welcoming place to work" for the LGBT community.
- Lansing has 66/100. Just like East Lansing, they've got some openly LGBT leaders.
- Pleasant Ridge scored 60/100. This city provides services vulnerable LGBT populations.
- Warren got a 15/100. Not so good. They're doing a few things in the municipal equality area, but not much.
How cities were scored
The HRC used 6 criterion to evaluate cities:
- Non-discrimination laws (18 points possible). Each city in the index was rated on whether discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation is prohibited.
- Relationship recognition (12 points possible). Though marriage and civil unions are up to the state, cities can have domestic partnership registries. Cities got points if they provided one of those registries.
- Municipality as employer (26 points possible). Cities were rated on whether they gave benefits and protections to LGBT employees.
- Municipal services (18 points possible). This category measures if the city includes LGBT people in city services and programs, like having an LGBT liason in the mayor's office.
- Law enforcement (18 points possible). If law enforcement engages with the LGBT community and reports hate crimes that are directed toward sexual orientation.
- Relationship with the LGBT community (8 possible points). This deals with stuff about LGBT leadership in city government and if the city is pro-equality despite what the state's laws are.
Even though there weren't any cities in Michigan that got a perfect score, 25 cities throughout the country did.
-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom