Minneapolis and St. Paul ranked high in a new rating of how inclusive city governments are for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
Out of a possible 100 points, Minneapolis scored 91 points and St. Paul earned a 67 as part of a first-ever Municipal Equality Index by The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization for gay and lesbians.
The cities were ranked in areas like non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits and inclusiveness in city services. Read the report here.
“Minnesota’s municipalities have been leading the way forward toward fuller LGBT equality for the past several years,” OutFront Minnesota legal director Phil Duran said.
Doran said his group has worked with 18 communities to pass domestic-partner registration ordinances and has worked with Twin Cities leaders to cement gender identity categories in their discrimination ordinances.
“This local leadership will help move our Legislature forward as well, particularly as these local leaders get elected to higher office,” he said.
Minneapolis and St. Paul were the only two Minnesota cities ranked by the group. The Human Rights Campaign reviewed 137 cities and state capitals as part of the study. Cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York received ratings of 100. Montgomery, Ala; Frankfurt, Ky; and Jefferson City, Mo, each got scores of zero.
Minnesota voters just defeated a proposed amendment that would have changed the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which would have strengthened an existing law preventing gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
Minnesota same-sex marriage advocates are now trying to plot their next step, which could include pushing for a law change in the Legislature or pressing for a statewide vote to legalize same-sex marriage.
Some legislators, including several who opposed the marriage amendment, are leery of pushing too soon for same-sex marriage and touching off another divisive fight over social issues.
“In Minnesota, there are 515 state laws that discriminate against same-sex couples and their families,” said Ann Kaner-Roth, Executive Director of Project 515, a statewide advocacy organization that works towards equal rights and considerations under the law for same-sex couples. “Ultimately this local leadership will provide guidance at the state level and we look forward to continuing to strive for inclusive policies for the state as a whole.”