Monday, October 17, 2016

Arkansas cities lag on LGBT equality

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:48 AM

click to enlarge index.jpg

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has released its ranking of 506 cities, including eight in Arkansas, on equal treatment of LGBT people.

Only two of the eight Arkansas cities — Fayetteville and Eureka Springs — scored above the national mean score of 55.

The Municipal Equality Index rates cities  on 44 criteria in five broad categories:Non-discrimination laws; Municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors; Inclusiveness of city services; Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting; Municipal leadership on matters of equality.

The scores in Arkansas:

Eureka Springs 64
Fayetteville 63
Little Rock 45
Conway 34
North Little Rock 20
Fort Smith 18
Jonesboro 18
Springdale 6

The full report, with searchable database, can be found here. 

Arkansas suffers in the rankings because we have no state non-discrimination law. We also have a law that provides a religious pretext for discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations. We also emulate North Carolina with a law — currently being pressed in court by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — meant to prevent cities and counties from passing non-discrimination ordinances of their own, as a handful of cities and counties have done. About 20 states, covering 42 percent of U.S. population, have non-discrimination laws.

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