The Human Rights Campaign Foundation
in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute has awarded the city of East Lansing a perfect score of 100 points in its 2016 Municipal Equality Quality Index (MEI).
The MEI examines how inclusive the municipal laws, policies and services of a city are to the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on quality.
Local LGBTQ activist William Sawyer-Todd says the perfect score is a marker that other cities haven't achieved. He points out that in 1972, East Lansing became the first municipality in the nation to ban discrimination against sexual orientation. And in 2013, the city became the second municipality in the state to offer formal recognition to LGBT couples through a domestic partnership registry.
"East Lansing is a leader and has been for decades," says Sawyer-Todd, the former chair of the East Lansing Human Relations Commission. "In the last three or four years, we've been working really hard to improve all our equality issues for LGBT people in our area. We still have a long way to go with improving the general understanding of LGBT people, so we don't want to rest on our laurels."
The MEI assesses LGBTQ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including 11 cities in Michigan. This year, four of the 11 Michigan cities have been dubbed "All-Star Cities," including East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit, each with a score of 100; and Ferndale, with a score of 94. The average score for Michigan cities is 69—which is 11 points above the national average of 55.
"East Lansing has a long history of being a community that has prided itself on its diversity and inclusivity of all people,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows. "We are extremely honored to be recognized as an ‘All-Star City’ by the HRC Foundation and we plan to continue to uphold the services, laws, programs and practices that helped us to achieve a perfect MEI score this year.”
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. For the full MEI report—including detailed scorecards and a searchable database—click here.
To view East Lansing's scorecard, click here
Source: Mikell Frey, Communications Coordinator, City of East Lansing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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