Ricky Howell (center) waves a rainbow flag as he rides a float down Peachtree Street during the Atlanta Pride Parade on Sunday, October 12, 2014. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips

Atlanta tops, Georgia tanks in its treatment of gays

On average, Georgia cities scored less than 40 points in a yearly equality index of  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender city laws and policies, according to the Human Rights Campaign -- although Decatur saw a major gain from its 2013 score, and Atlanta earned a perfect 100 for the second straight year.

The HRC's Municipal Equality Index, which you can read in full here, ranks each city on categories including non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition and more. The MEI draws from public records, according to the HRC. For those cities that aren't technically cities -- that are actually "census-designated places" -- the HRC said "we rated the local government that actually serves that census-designated place, which is usually the county."

The 2014 scores are:

  • Athens: 46 (2013 score: 44)
  • Atlanta: 100 (2013: 100)
  • Augusta: 10 (2013: 12)
  • Avondale Estates: 58 (2013: 56)
  • Columbus: 21 (2013: 20)
  • Decatur: 46 (2013: 27)
  • North Druid Hills: 11 (2013: 15)
  • Savannah: 18

The year-over-year comparisons are mostly unremarkable, except for two: Atlanta's second perfect score in two years (its 2012 number was 82/100) comes in the same year that saw it lead the nation in number of LGBT-friendly businesses. The state capital has long topped lists of the nation's most LGBT-friendly cities, period.

Decatur's jump -- take a look at its 2013 and 2014 scorecards for yourself -- is in part thanks to the addition of a domestic partner registry, as well as improved relationships between city leadership and the LGBT community.

And again, Georgia's numbers excel when compared to Alabama, where its five cities (including Tuscaloosa, with 3/100) rank among the worst in the country

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