Where Connecticut towns stand on the Municipal Equality Index

Where Connecticut towns stand on the Municipal Equality Index

Anna Rhoads ’19

The Human Rights Campaign released the “Municipal Equality Index 2016” this month. The index gives a score to cities based on their “non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.” It examines how inclusive the laws and services are of the LGBT people who live in various cities. The campaign has been releasing the data since 2012 and this year, Connecticut’s scores are pretty mixed.

The cities scored in Connecticut included; Bridgeport, Fairfield, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Storrs (Mansfield) and Waterbury. Westport was not even on the list. This is because according to the Human Rights Campaign it only included “the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, 75 cities and municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples, and 98 cities selected by members and supporters of HRC and Equality Federation state organizations.” Since Westport didn’t fit any of these categories it wasn’t included. Either way, according to Movoto, a highly regarded brokering company, “The town’s population is highly educated, wealthy, and very liberal, making it the ideal town for those who identify as LGBT.” It is clear that Westport is believed to have a strong LGBT community however, its exclusion from the index might indicate that some efforts need to be made to improve things.

As for other cities that were included on the index, Stamford came out on top and Bridgeport was on the bottom. The average score for Connecticut was about a 70, Stamford scored a 100 and Bridgeport scored a 50. Stamford’s perfect score wasn’t easy to achieve; only 60 out of the 506 cities received an 100. The second highest score was New Haven at 94 and the next lowest score was Storrs at 54. Something that is interesting is that Norwalk, who scored a below average grade of 68 is on one side of westport. On the other side of the town is Fairfield who also scored a low score of 57. Based off of this index towns should work to improve their LGBT community, including Westport.

The index scores cities under five categories: non-discrimination laws, municipality as an employee, municipal services, law enforcement and the relationship with the LGBT community. With this information it is clear to see the ways to improve a city’ score. For example a large portion of the score came from whether the cities had LGBT liaisons in the community. In Stamford they have two liaisons. A lot can be taken from the index including improvements that could be made immediately.