For the third year in a row, Louisville has earned a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign scorecard, which says the city remains a “beacon of hope” in terms of ensuring that all residents are treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) scorecard measures laws, services and leadership that promote the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Louisville is the only city in Kentucky to receive a perfect score. Lexington scored 96, Covington at 74, Morehead at 59 and Frankfort at 52.
In a news release announcing the rankings, HRC lauded Louisville as being one of 41 “All-Star” cities that are fueling equality despite being in a state that lacks non-discrimination protections.
“This honor exemplifies our commitment to ensuring all residents have the right to fairness and equality, giving them the ability to reach their full human potential,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “We are a compassionate city, and because of our inclusive nature, a diverse portfolio of companies of choosing to locate in Louisville.”
The Human Rights Campaign began in 1980 and is now the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans
“Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development,” Chad Griffin, HRC president, said in a news release. “CEOs know that in order to attract and retain the best employees, they must grow their companies in places that protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination and actively open their doors to all communities. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming – or unwelcoming – nature of towns and cities across the nation.”
Mayor Fischer said the impact of Louisville’s commitment to equality goes beyond being recognized as a model city of compassion. The HRC ranking also is a boost to the city’s economic development efforts, given that cities that are inclusive are increasingly winning in the competition for residents, businesses and employees.
“Louisville once again ranks among the best cities in the U.S. for LGBTQ people to live, work, and play, and it is leading the way for other cities in our commonwealth. It’s no surprise Louisville is one of the only cities in the South to score a perfect 100 for LGBTQ inclusion, as we continue the tradition begun in 1999 when Louisville became one of the first cities in the nation to enact a fully-inclusive anti-discrimination Fairness Ordinance,” said Chris Hartman, Director, Fairness Campaign. “We are proud of Louisville and Mayor Fischer for the incredible work to reach this milestone, and we look forward to many more firsts for our city.”
Louisville’s score was higher than some peer cities, including Nashville at 60, Charlotte, N.C., at 73, and Indianapolis at 88.
The Mayor added that Louisville Metro Government has worked to improve even further by implementing plans for implicit bias training for all employees. In addition, LMPD has partnered with Starbucks on the “Safe Harbor” initiative to reduce crimes and bullying against the LGBTQ community.
Earlier this year, the University of Louisville was named a top 25 LGBTQ-friendly university by Campus Pride. This recognition was given to school’s scoring the highest percentages in LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks for policies, programs and practices.