Four cities in Texas — Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio — received a score of 100 on Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. Of the 25 Texas cities scored, Houston, which has no nondiscrimination ordinance, is next with a 70 and Plano scored 69.
The index included five major categories: nondiscrimination laws, municipality as employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ equality.
The category of education was dropped, in part because of complaints about how HRC was rating Texas cities based on what the school district did. Dallas ISD was rated high for equality, but large portions of the city of Dallas don’t fall in DISD, and lack of protections for students living in Dallas, who attend Richardson ISD or other schools, were ignored.
In addition, cities that fall within DISD, weren’t getting credit for equality.
Bonus points were awarded that helped both Dallas and Fort Worth. On the five categories alone, Dallas scored 89 and Fort Worth 91. However, Dallas received 12 bonus points and Fort Worth 9. A score of 100 is the highest score given, even if points total higher.
Bonus points are awarded, up to a total of 22 additional points, to balance disparities in state laws. Under municipal services, for example, Dallas received two bonus points for “city provides services to LGBT elders.” Reverchon Recreation Center and the Dallas Public Library work with Silver Pride Project to provide space and programming for LGBT seniors.
Under leadership, Dallas received two points for “openly LGBT elected or appointed leaders.” Dallas has three gay city council members and one state representative whose district is mostly within the city limits. (Sorry Councilwoman Mendelsohn, no bonus points for PFLAG moms).
In the law enforcement category, 10 points are awarded for having an LGBT liaison. In addition to Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving scored 10 points in that category. Irving received a total score of 36.
Other DFW cities rated include Mesquite with a 17. Mesquite received no bonus points. While no points are specifically given for Pride at City Hall, anyone who attended the packed Mesquite Pride at its city hall and police headquarters building in June would have awarded that city a few bonus points. The event rivaled Pride at Dallas City Hall.
McKinney scored 26, Grand Prairie 27, Garland 14 including 2 bonus points for having an out city councilman, Denton 57 and Arlington 58.
A special shout out to Laredo, the only Texas city rated that scored a big fat zero.
— David Taffet