SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Few things are perfect in life. Utah’s capital city’s score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), however, is a perfect score of 100, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s office announced on Monday.
Rating cities on a scale that examines the inclusivity of municipal laws, policies, and services are towards members of the LGBTQ+ community, the MEI has bumped SLC up from a 66 in 2019, to the maximum score possible, in 2021.
“I’m happy to see our hard work on LGBTQ+ inclusion in our ordinances, policies and services recognized by the Human Rights Campaign’s index,” said Mayor Mendenhall. “It’s so important for us to keep examining our own practices and implementing needed changes so our capital city remains a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people to live and work.”
The Human Rights Campaign presented scores for over 500 cities across the United States, including seven other municipalities in Utah besides Salt Lake City.
Other Utah cities that were graded including the following, with their score out of 100:
Logan – 48
Ogden – 58
Orem – 22
Park City – 70
Provo – 40
West Jordan – 36
West Valley City – 48
A press release from the Mayor’s Office credited several new policies including coverage of gender-affirming surgeries for city employees and Mendenhall’s public advocacy for protections as major factors in SLC’s improved score. Existing organizations within the city, such as the Utah Pride Center, and the Utah AIDS Foundation, also tipped the scale towards the perfect mark, according to the release.
Those involved with pursuing greater equality in the state commended Mendenhall for the city’s recognition as the most LGBTQ+-friendly city in Utah.
“We commend Mayor Mendenhall and the Salt Lake City Council for their unwavering support of LGBTQ Utahns,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah. “We are also grateful to the decades of allied leadership from City Hall that has brought us all to this historic moment. We have long known that the capital city is a home and a refuge for our community. Our families have been welcomed and loved here. Salt Lake City is the vanguard for justice and equality in the Beehive State.”