Decatur scores low on LGBT protections; city vows to improve

The city of Decatur is vowing to do better after a low score on a report about protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Decatur received 21 out of 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equity Index, which measures whether strong protections are in place where LGBT people live and work.

City Manager Peggy Merriss said Decatur has already started working toward meeting the standards for next year's report.

"Regretfully we were not able to implement changes in job descriptions and update language in policies to meet the specific requirements as defined in the scorecard before the 2016 report was released," she said in an email Wednesday. "We believe the score will increase in the future to reflect the city of Decatur’s long-standing commitment to equity and justice for all of our residents, business owners and visitors."

The LGBT civil rights advocacy group 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

Atlanta was the only of the 10 Georgia cities on the list to get a score higher than 45. Atlanta, known across the Southeast for its large LGBT community, received a perfect score.

Elsewhere in DeKalb County, Avondale Estates received a 41, the North Druid Hills area a 12.

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