Here are the results of the 2017 equality scores for cities across South Dakota:
Equality South Dakota’s press release, which discusses the results, is included below the fold…
Brookings & Sioux Falls Score Well on LGBTQ City Policies
Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, released its sixth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), assessing LGBTQ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including nine in South Dakota .
The 2017 Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law and policy, shows that cities across the country, including in South Dakota , continue to take the lead in supporting LGBTQ people and workers, even when states and the federal government have not.
Brookings scored the highest with a score of 72 out of a possible 100. Sioux Falls scored the second highest with a score of 63. The other cities and their scores are: Vermillion – 27, Spearfish – 21, Rapid City– 19, Aberdeen – 18, Watertown – 18, Pierre – 0 and Mitchell – 0. The scorecards for each city can be found on EqSD’s website: www.eqsd.org.
“The reason that Brookings and Sioux Falls scored well is that both cities have a human rights commission and a LGBTQ community that is working with the cities to implement policies to make these cities welcoming to their LGBTQ residents” said Lawrence Novotny, chair of Equality South, the state’s LGBTQ advocacy organization. The LGBTQ communities in Vermillion, Spearfish and Rapid City are trying to work to improve their cities’ scores. “While Aberdeen, Watertown, Pierre and Mitchell have LGBTQ residents, these cities lack an organized effort” said Novotny.
The MEI rates cities based on 44 criteria that fall into five broad categories [indicate which South Dakota cities were entirely or partially scored in these categories]:
- Non-discrimination laws
- Municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and
non-discrimination requirements for contractors [Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Spearfish, and Watertown]
- Inclusiveness of city services [Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Spearfish, Rapid City, and Aberdeen]
- Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting [Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Spearfish, Rapid City, Aberdeen and Watertown]
- Municipal leadership on matters of equality [Brookings, Sioux Falls, and Vermillion]
Brookings was scored for having a human rights commission with enforcement mechanism; non-discrimination in city employment; trans-inclusive heathcare benefits; LGBTQ liaison in city executive’s office and the police department; anti-bullying school policies; city provided services to LGBTQ youth; hate crimes reporting; openly appointed LGBTQ leaders; and leadership on LGBTQ equality efforts.
Sioux Falls was scored for having a human rights commission with enforcement mechanism; non-discrimination in city employment; trans-inclusive heathcare benefits; LGBTQ liaison in city executive’s office and the police department; city provided services to people living with HIV or AIDS; hate crimes reporting; openly appointed LGBTQ leaders; and leadership on LGBTQ equality efforts.
Vermillion was scored for having non-discrimination in city employment; anti-bullying school policies; hate crimes reporting; and leadership on LGBTQ equality efforts.
Spearfish was scored for having non-discrimination in city employment; anti-bullying school policies; and hate crimes reporting..
Rapid City was scored for a human rights commission with enforcement mechanism; and hate crimes reporting.
Aberdeen was scored for anti-school bullying policies and hate crimes reporting.
Watertown was scored for non-discrimination in city employment and hate crimes reporting.
HRC rated more than 500 cities: the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, 75 cities and municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples, and 98 cities selected by members and supporters of HRC and Equality Federation state organizations. The nationwide report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei .