The Human Rights Campaign has released of how some 500 U.S. cities stack up on equal treatment of LGBTQ people. On average, the eight cities ranked in Arkansas fared poorly.
The Municipal Equality Index produces a composite score based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as employer, municipal government functions, law enforcement and relationship with the LGBTQ community. These are subjective judgments, at times. For example, up to 8 points were available based on whether leaders had taken public positions on an issue or encouraged legislative action.
With 100 the maximum score, here’s how the scoring went in Arkansas:
Eureka Springs 68
Fort Smith 20
Little Rock 45
North Little Rock 20
Not so hot. The average score in Arkansas was 35 against a 57 national average, which only Fayetteville and Eureka Springs exceeded And a number of cities around the country scored 100, including 28 cities in states, like Arkansas, that lack statewide LGBTQ protections.
By way of example, Little Rock scored zip for having non-discrimination laws. It did get credit for a city employee non-discrimination policy and a policy requiring non-discrimination by city vendors. And its leaders are credited with at least saying the right things about LGBTQ issues, if not necessarily implementing them in ways.
Incidentally, given Little Rock’s high-profile rejection of Amazon, including an airplane banner advertising the fact ver Seattle: The MEI score for Seattle, the company’s headquarters, was 100. As the mayor said last week: “It’s us.”