Atlanta perfect on LGBT inclusion, rest of Georgia stinks

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When it comes to being progressively perfect, Atlanta nails it again. For the third consecutive year, the city scores a perfect 100 for its LGBT equality efforts while the rest of the state bombs.

Atlanta received a 100 on HRC's 2015 Municipal Equality Index, an annual ranking released on Thursday. Lone Star Q first reported on the 64-page report early Thursday before it went public.

Like it did in 2014 and 2013, Atlanta notched a perfect score while other areas ranked in the state flunked. Just two of the cities – Avondale Estates and Columbus – broke 40 and LGBT-popular Decatur dropped to a 28.

The Georgia cities, their scores, links to their reports (and 2014 results):

The report dings Savannah for failing to have a non-discrimination policy for city employment. But on Dec. 10, the city formalized a long-standing non-discrimination policy that included “sexual orientation” into a city ordinance and expanded it to include “gender identity.” Just 14 jurisdictions in Georgia include “gender identity” in their non-discrimination ordinances.

“This has been a historic year for equality. Yet, even as we celebrate a major victory for nationwide marriage equality at the U.S. Supreme Court and unprecedented visibility for transgender Americans over the last year, we are surrounded by reminders of how far we still have to go,” HRC President Chad Griffin says in the report.

Atlanta is the only city in Georgia to score a perfect 100, just one of 47 across the U.S. that notched a 100 on the report. It also was included among the list of MEI “All-Stars,” the 31 municipalities that HRC says are cities that score highly in 13 states without LGBT supportive laws.

In November, 13 companies, financial institutions and law firms headquartered in Atlanta earned a perfect score on HRC's Corporate Equality Index.

HRC's report scores municipalities on dozens of criteria across five broad categories, including non-discrimination laws, how the city treats its LGBT employees, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and city leadership on equality issues.

The 2015 report rated some 408 cities across the country, an addition of 55 cities from past years. It includes the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities, five largest cities in each state, the cities home to the state's two largest public university and 75 others that have high proportions of same-sex couples.

The report also applauds what it calls the “explosive growth” in cities offering trans-inclusive health care to city employees, a number that reached 66 in 2015, according to the report.

UPDATE | Mayor Kasim Reed issued a statement celebrating the city's score.

“I am very proud of the City of Atlanta’s perfect score on this index because it reflects my commitment to keeping Atlanta welcoming and inclusive of all people. Atlanta is known as ‘The City Too Busy to Hate,’ and my administration is dedicated to living up to that name in policy and practice.”


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