By Nora Tooher
Akron scored below average in the Human Right Campaign’s latest Municipal Equality Index, which rates municipalities on local laws and policies affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community.
Akron scored 48 out of 100 possible points, including five out of eight points based on the city leadership’s commitment to fully include the LGBT community and to advocate for full equality, and 10 out of 18 possible points for fairly reporting hate crimes against the LGBT community to the FBI.
Akron racked up additional points for non-discrimination in employment and providing domestic partner health benefits. The city scored bonus points for making the municipality a welcoming place to work and providing transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits.
It also scored bonus points for having openly LGBT city leaders, engaging with the LGBT community and being pro-equality.
Although Akron received zero out of 12 possible points for relationship recognition, it was given two bonus points because it was forced to stop providing a domestic partner registry because of a “restrictive state law.”
Among other Ohio municipalities included in the study, Columbus received the highest score possible – 100, joining 24 other cities across the nation with perfect scores. Cincinnati scored 90 points; Cleveland, 83 and Toledo, 70.
Columbus and Cincinnati received kudos from the report’s authors for achieving high scores, despite the lack of a strong, statewide pro-equality law. Other cities with high scores in states without supportive state laws included Philadelphia, 100, and New Hope, Penn., 89; Phoenix, 100, and Tucson, Ariz., 90; Atlanta, 100; Missoula, Mont., 100; Salt Lake City, 87; Tampa, Fla., 89; Tallahassee, Fla., 84; and Missouri’s Kansas City and St. Louis, 100.
Texas cities with high scores despite the lack of supportive state law were: Austin, 100; Fort Worth, 91; Dallas, 85 and San Antonio, 86. Michigan municipal equality superstars, despite a dearth of state support, include East Lansing, 86, and Ann Arbor, 88.
In Louisiana, New Orleans garnered praise for its score of 91. In contrast, Shreveport, the third-largest city in Louisiana, scored only 16 points.
The latest Municipal Equality Index rated a total of 291 cities from every state in the nation.