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Posted on: November 17, 2023

Dubuque Earns Highest Possible Score on Municipal Equality Index

The City of Dubuque is pleased to announce that it has earned 100 out of 100 points, the highest possible score, on the newly released Municipal Equality Index (MEI) from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Each year, the Municipal Equality Index ranks municipalities across the country based on the level of inclusivity of the cities’ laws, policies, and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. This is the fifth time in the past six years that Dubuque has received the highest possible score.  

Since 2012, the HRC has issued the annual Municipal Equality Index, ranking cities on a scale from zero to 100 based on 49 criteria covering non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the City leadership’s public position on equality.  

“Earning the highest available score on this year’s Municipal Equality Index demonstrates Dubuque’s commitment to ensuring our LGBTQ+ community is safe, respected, and valued,” said City of Dubuque Chief of Equity and Human Rights Dr. Gisella Aitken-Shadle. “While we are exceedingly proud of achieving this high score, we know our efforts to make Dubuque a community which is as equitable, welcoming, and vibrant as possible must continue.”    

In 2023, a total of 506 cities were ranked. Dubuque’s score of 100 is significantly higher than the national city average of 71 points. Among the cities rated in the MEI are all 50 state capitals, each of the 200 most populous cities in the United States, the five largest cities by population in each state, the cities home to each state’s two largest public universities, 75 municipalities which have high proportions of same-sex couples, and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters.  

2023 scores for cities in Iowa:  
Ames – 96 
Cedar Rapids – 100  
Davenport – 100  
Des Moines – 96  
Dubuque – 100 
Iowa City – 100  
Sioux City – 77 
Waterloo – 83  
West Des Moines – 100  

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at

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