Four Iowa cities rank high on LGBT equality index

Four Iowa cities, including Des Moines, have received high marks for LGBT equality from a national civil rights organization.

The Human Rights Campaign, which considers itself the country’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 291 cities as a part of its 2013 Municipal Equality Index on LGBT inclusion in municipal law.

Davenport and Iowa City scored 90 out of 100 on the index. Des Moines had 88 points and Cedar Rapids 63, the Human Rights Campaign said in a news release.

The organization said the report shows that municipalities show more support for equality for LGBT people than states and the federal government.

The index rates cities on 47 criteria in six categories, including non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, municipality’s employment and contracting policies, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership on matters of equality.

The full report includes detailed scorecards by city and a searchable database.

Des Moines’ rating improved by nine points over 2012, but areas where it could still improve, according to its scorecard, would be to provide transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits and to enact non-discrimination policies for gender identity among city employees; and to add an LGBT liaison in the mayor’s office.

One Iowa, an LGBT civil rights organization, will address those issues with Mayor Frank Cownie in the next year, said Executive Director Donna Red Wing.

“We are confident that together, we can bump those numbers up to 100 percent by the end of 2014 so that Iowa can continue to lead the way in fairness and equality for all,” Red Wing said.

Read the article from the Des Moines Register.