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Tempe earns perfect score on Municipal Equality Index for fourth year
TEMPE, Ariz - The City of Tempe earned a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for the fourth year in a row, showing Tempe's dedication to equality and a safe, welcoming community atmosphere for our residents, visitors and workforce.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, provides the scores.
Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson were among the 41 cities in America to earn All Star designations. MEI All Stars are cities nationwide that are excelling by advancing LGBTQ equality without relying on state law. This year, Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix earned perfect scores of 100. The average score for cities in Arizona is 61 out of 100 points, which falls above the national average of 57.
The MEI rated 506 cities including 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, municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 44 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership’s relationship with the LGBTQ community.
Tempe is one of five Arizona cities with non-discrimination ordinances. Tempe residents voted to include these protections in the city charter. Last year, Tempe achieved equity in its employee-sponsored healthcare coverage, as it is now fully-inclusive to cover the needs of transgender employees and their dependents. The city's Strategic Management and Diversity Office is also active with anti-bullying in schools, several diversity programs and more.
Mayor Mark Mitchell joined representatives of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Tempe Tourism, Tempe business leaders and others to celebrate the designation today. He said, "It’s important that our LGBTQ employees, residents, and visitors feel safe, welcome and celebrated. We let people know that in Tempe, we will welcome you as you are and protect you from discrimination at home, at work and in public spaces because inclusivity is not only a moral imperative, it’s an economic imperative, and the bottom line is that it’s the right thing to do."
He added, "We need to continue our work to take equality outside of the five cities with non-discrimination ordinances in Arizona and work for comprehensive statewide non-discrimination protections."
The full Municipal Equality Index, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.
Tempe 11 will broadcast the Municipal Equality Index announcement at www.tempe.gov/tempe11 and on Cox cable channel 11, Century Link 8012 and Century Link 8512 in HD beginning next week. For more information on Tempe's diversity programs, please visit www.tempe.gov/diversity.