First-ever rating system assesses LGBT inclusion in municipal law
MILWAUKEE — The Human Rights Campaign has just released its first-ever Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which rates U.S. cities on 47 different LGBT inclusion criteria, and Wisconsin’s two largest cities have earned high marks from the organization.
“Both Milwaukee and Madison are showing what laws and practices municipalities can put in place to attract businesses that want to be part of an inclusive community,” says Jason Rae, executive director of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “Inclusion efforts also assist in recruiting and retaining top talent for companies of all sizes. People want to live in an inclusive community, and these efforts from Madison and Milwaukee will help make sure we can compete for talent in a global marketplace.”
Milwaukee scored an 85 and Madison scored a 95 out of a possible 100 points on the MEI. The index rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership.
Municipalities could also receive bonus points for additional inclusion efforts. Both Milwaukee and Madison were recognized for providing services to vulnerable LGBT populations and overall engagement with the LGBT community. Madison was also recognized for the presence of openly LGBT city leadership.
“It’s clear that Wisconsin’s major municipalities are leading the way among our nation’s cities, but there is still more work to be done,” says Rae. “We applaud these municipalities for what they have already achieved. We look forward to assisting in any way we can to further increase LGBT inclusion so we can continue to recruit and retain businesses and employees who want to be part of an inclusive community.”
The Human Rights Campaign included 137 cities of all sizes from throughout the nation in the 2012 MEI. Milwaukee and Madison’s rankings put them in the top 25 percent of all cities assessed in the MEI. Cities are only assessed on their local laws, not state statutes.
The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gay-allied businesses, professionals and individuals throughout the state of Wisconsin. It offers networking opportunities, business development efforts within the LGBT community and educational programming to its members.
Membership information can be found online at: www.wislgbtchamber.com.