SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Salt Lake City received 100 out of 100 for the second year in a row in the Municipal Equality Index 2022, which rates cities of various sizes across the country based on their LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
Conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, the study surveys 506 cities in the United States, whose population amounts to more than 92 million. A record 120 “All-Star” cities, including Salt Lake, scored 100 points this year and another 25% of cities scored 95 out of 100.
“In a year where hostility to LGBTQ+ people was at historic levels, cities continued to push forward on matters of equality,” the Human Rights Campaign states.
The MEI can be used as a tool to inform municipal officials, policymakers and business leaders on how well cities embody LGBTQ+ inclusion in their laws and services, said Kelly Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
The scoring criteria includes evaluating city-wide non-discrimination laws, municipality policies for LGBTQ+ employees, inclusive services and programs, the relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ+ community and the city leadership’s commitment to fully include the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the study, Salt Lake City scored 20 out of 30 in the Non-Discrimination Laws section, 26 out of 28 in the “Municipality as Employer” section, 10 out of 12 in the “Municipal Services” section, 22 out of 22 in the “Law enforcement” category and 8 out of 8 in the “Leadership on LGBTQ+ Equality” category.
The city received bonus points for providing a wide range of services for the LGBTQ+ community and openly electing or appointing LGBTQ+ city leaders. There are currently four Salt Lake City Council members who identify as LGBTQ+, making it the most diverse council the city has ever seen.
Mayor Erin Mendenhall celebrated the achievement on Twitter, saying that she is honored to receive the score but “even more to be part of a workplace that is inclusive for all its people.”
In comparison, Provo received a total score of 40, scoring 0 in inclusive city-wide services and law enforcement’s fair engagement with the LGBTQ+ community. The city apparently did not report hate crime stats to the FBI and does not have an LGBTQ+ task force in their police department, the study reports.
West Valley City, the second largest city in Utah, is eight points ahead of Provo, receiving a score of 48. The study awarded points to the city for enacting non-discrimination laws in employment and housing and reporting hate crime states to the FBI.