Carrboro had the biggest jump for cities in North Carolina on the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent municipal equality index that was released on Thursday.
Carrboro earned a score of 71 out of 100 points on the HRC’s scale measuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights in municipal law and policy. Carrboro’s score represented a 25-percent increase over its 2016 mark, according to a news release.
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“We applaud the town of Carrboro for taking positive steps and increasing their municipal equality index score by almost 25 percent in just one year,” said Equality NC Interim Executive Director Matt Hirschy.
Durham rated a 69, Chapel Hill a 66. Greensboro led all North Carolina cities with a score of 82. Charlotte’s score was 73, Raleigh 60. Cary earned the lowest score among the 10 cities in North Carolina, 18.
The average score for cities in North Carolina was 53, which was below the national average of 57.
Nationally, there were 506 cities rated in the sixth-annual survey by HRC and the Equality Federation Institute. There were 68 cities that earned perfect scores of 100, while at the other end of the spectrum 11 cities earned scores of zero.
For LGBTQ Americans, legal protections and benefits vary widely depending on location - states and cities have markedly different laws governing discrimination. Twenty states have non-discrimination laws that include protections for LGBTQ people in employment, and 19 states have laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in places of public accommodation.
“This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country.
Progress on transgender equality has been particularly noteworthy in cities this year, continuing a positive trend that the MEI has tracked since 2012. Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 111 municipalities this year, up from 86 in 2016, 66 in 2015 and just five in 2012.
“Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. 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 full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online.