Caitlin Mussak (L) and Haley Brooks hold a rainbow flag as the Atlanta Pride Parade makes its way down 10th Street, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Atlanta scores a perfect 100 on national LGBT protections report

For the fourth year in a row, Atlanta was the only Georgia city to receive a perfect score of 100 on a national report that evaluates protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.   

The Human Rights Campaign recently released its annual Municipal Equality Index, which assesses laws, policies and services related to non-discrimination in the nation's cities.

This year's index rated 506 cities, including 10 in Georgia. Six of those cities are in the metro area — Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Decatur, North Druid Hills, Roswell and Sandy Springs.

Atlanta is known in the Southeast for its large LGBT population. The city received a perfect score for its non-discrimination policies in both housing and the workplace, and having a citywide LGBT advocacy office. It was given bonus points for having elected officials who are openly LGBT, but the score cannot exceed 100.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he is "very proud" of the perfect score, according to a press release from the city.

"Our performance shows that our work is making a difference to Atlanta’s LGBT community, and setting the standard for cities in the Southeast,” Reed said.

Separately, GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBT media advocacy group recently singled out Reed with a "Local Hero" award for his support of the LGBT community.

The Human Rights Campaign's MEI looked at five categories to determine each city's score:

  • Non-discrimination laws - whether a city prohibits sexual and gender discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations 
  • The city as an employer - whether a city offers equal LGBT protection laws for employees, and awards contracts to businesses committed to LGBT rights
  • City services - whether a city includes LGBT people in city services and programs
  • Law enforcement - whether police report hate crimes, and thoughtfully engage with the LGBT community
  • A city's relationship with the LGBT community - whether a city's leadership advocates for the LGBT community

Before publishing its scorecard, the Human Rights Campaign, sent each city a draft scorecard to review and offer feedback.

Roswell and Sandy Springs lost points for not having non-discrimination laws in housing or private workplaces, and the absence of some LGBT services, including a human rights commission. 

And the city of Decatur is vowing to do better after receiving a low score.

Here's a breakdown of each Georgia city's MEI score:

  • Athens — 21
  • Atlanta — 100
  • Augusta-Richmond — 12
  • Avondale Estates — 41
  • Columbus — 38
  • Decatur — 21
  • North Druid Hills — 12
  • Roswell — 11
  • Sandy Springs — 22
  • Savannah — 44

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