Arkansas cities lag in 'equality index' for LGBT people; Fayetteville leads | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Arkansas cities lag in 'equality index' for LGBT people; Fayetteville leads

Posted By on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 6:34 AM

The Human Rights Campaign has assessed treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in 353 cities, including five in Arkansas, and the result puts Fayetteville on top of those studied in Arkansas, though all fall below the national average score. Full report here.

Said an HRC news release:

The average score for cities in Arkansas is 21 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 59. Fayetteville: 42, Fort Smith: 16, Little Rock: 13, North Little Rock: 16, Springdale: 16.

“From Mississippi to Idaho, mid-size cities and small towns have become the single greatest engine of progress for LGBT equality—changing countless lives for the better,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “In just three years, the number of municipalities earning top marks for their treatment of LGBT citizens has more than tripled. Simply put, in this country there is an ongoing race to the top to treat all people, including LGBT people, fairly under the law, and it’s time our state and federal laws caught up.”

The study covered each state's largest city, capital and home to major university. The score covered non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; employment policies including insurance and non-discrimination rules; law enforcement; municipal leadership and "inclusiveness of city services."

Fayetteville, by the way, did not build up a big lead on account of its recently adopted civil rights ordinance, which is not in effect and subject to a referendum Dec. 9. It got no points in that category. But it scored high on relationship with the gay community (8 of 8 points); in law enforcement (10 of 14); and in employment practices (11 of 28) for a non-discrimination policy and insurance coverage of domestic partners.

Quite a few zeroes for Little Rock. Among the notable zeroes: For its leadership's public position on equal treatment for LGBT people.

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