Every year, cities are scored on a 100-point scale as part of the Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which measures how LGBT inclusive they are in areas ranging from fair employment policies, transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage, and non-discrimination protections.
This year, for the third year in a row, Atlanta scored a perfect 100%. Forty-seven other jurisdictions across the nation also received a perfect score, a major boost from last year’s total tally of 38.
Georgia Unites’ Jeff Graham lauded the ranking and referenced the need for better protections for LGBT people at the state level:
Once again, we’re very proud of Atlanta and their score of 100. It proves that municipalities in Georgia can go well beyond state law in protecting their LGBT employees, citizens and visitors from discrimination.
The Human Rights Campaign conducts the MEI report as well as a Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which is a similar benchmark for corporate polices and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.
When ranked on the CEI scale, more than half of the Georgia companies that were reviewed scored 100%, and seven out of ten received scores higher than 80%.
Businesses in Georgia and across the nation are leading on LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections. A majority of Fortune 500 companies already have policies on the books protecting gay and transgender workers from discrimination.
Beyond the imperative to treat people fairly and equally at work, there is incredible economic incentive for passing full non-discrimination protections statewide. Businesses know that the only way to compete in a global economy is to recruit and retain top talent. But increasingly, particularly among millennials, people aren’t relocating for work so much as they’re relocating to cities and then finding work.
A city or state that lacks comprehensive non-discrimination laws sends the message that not everyone is welcome, and proves a huge deterrent for incoming talent and businesses. Two separate studies already project that, if the State Legislature passes a discriminatory religious exemptions bill next year, Georgia could lose billions in revenue.
For now, we celebrate Atlanta as a leading example of LGBT-inclusivity. We also laud the Savannah City Council for their recent vote to improve and expand their non-discrimination protections for city employees and those doing business with the city to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
As HRC President Chad Griffin said, this is “an historic year for equality.” We urge the State Legislature to take strides towards ensuring a more fair and equal Georgia by passing the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) and instating fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for state employees. Click here to urge your lawmakers to pass FEPA this year.SHARE THIS STORY