City of Dubuque Human Rights News

Dubuque Receives Score of 100 on Municipal Equality Index

Kelly Larson, Human Rights Director

Oct. 17, 2018 -- For Immediate Release

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Human Rights Campaign, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, has issued its 2018 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 2018 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. 

Dubuque’s 2018 score of 100 represents an increase from 2017 when the city’s score was 94.  The increase in score was due to offering transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for City employees.
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 2018, a total of 506 cities were ranked.  Dubuque’s score of 100 is significantly higher than the national city score average of 58 points. Seventy-eight cities scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 83 points; 50 percent scored over 58 points; 25 percent scored less than 36; and 15 cities scored zero points.

2018 Scores for cities in Iowa:
  • Ames – 82
  • Cedar Rapids – 100 
  • Davenport – 80
  • Des Moines – 93
  • Iowa City – 100
  • Dubuque – 100
  • Sioux City – 67
  • Waterloo – 59
  • West Des Moines – 93
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

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