Dubuque Receives Score of 100 on Municipal Equality Index
Kelly Larson, Human Rights Director
Dec. 3, 2020 -- For Immediate Release
DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Human Rights Campaign, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, has issued its 2020 Municipal Equality Index, a ranking of municipalities across the country based on the inclusiveness of their laws, policies, and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) residents. Dubuque’s score for 2020 is 100.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is a national education and advocacy organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ people. Since 2012, the HRC has issued the annual Municipal Equality Index, ranking cities on a scale from zero to 100 based on 44 criteria covering non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the City leadership’s public position on equality.
2020 marks Dubuque’s third consecutive year with a score of 100. Dubuque was awarded all available standard points for its municipal services, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ equality. The City received partial credit for the following:
- 2 out of a possible 6 points for having a regular practice of routinely including non-discrimination requirements in contracts. Full credit would require a formal policy or ordinance that requires all businesses the City contracts with for goods or services to have an employee non-discrimination policy that expressly covers both sexual orientation and gender identity.
- 4 out of a possible 5 points for the City’s non-discrimination law. Full credit would require removal of the following religious exemption in the City’s non-discrimination ordinance:
- “The prohibition by this section of discrimination based on sexual orientation shall not apply to any bona fide religious institution with respect to any qualifications for employment by such institution.” Dubuque Code of Ordinances Section 8-3-3(B).
The City received bonus points for the following:
- 1 bonus point for offering Domestic Partner Benefits for City employees;
- 2 bonus points for offering programming specifically for LGBTQ youth based on the City’s financial and staff support for the Multicultural Family Center and its LGBTQ youth programs;
- 2 bonus points for having an openly LGBTQ appointed municipal leader.
In 2020, a total of 506 cities were ranked. Ninety-four cities earned a score of 100, which is an increase from 88 in 2019 and 11 when the first report was released in 2012. Dubuque’s score of 100 is significantly higher than the national city score average of 64 points. This year, 179 cities, including Dubuque, have transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for municipal employees.
2020 Scores for cities in Iowa:
- Ames – 87
- Cedar Rapids – 100
- Davenport – 84
- Des Moines – 88
- Iowa City – 100
- Dubuque – 100
- Sioux City – 57
- Waterloo – 59
- West Des Moines – 99
The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters.
The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei
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