A new report measuring the level of equality afforded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans shows substantial improvements in the Kentucky cities measured, said Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman. The Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday released its second annual Municipal Equality Index, examining laws and policies that foster LGBT equality in nearly 300 American cities and awarded them points on a scale of 0-100.
Four Kentucky cities were included in the report—Bowling Green, with 17 points; Frankfort, at 31 points, Louisville, which netted 50 points; and Lexington, which led the pack at 53 points. On average, Kentucky cities scored 12 points below the national average of 57 points.
But Hartman said it's an improvement.
“Lexington made a big splash," Hartman said, noting that it wasn't included in the 2012 edition of the report. "Louisville improved its score by a number of points, and Frankfort went from zero points the previous year, one of I think only three cities that achieved a zero score in 2012, to making it on the map in 2013.”
Hartman acknowledges that there’s room for improvement, particularly in the areas of Kentucky's cities recognizing LGBT relations or the creation of domestic partnership registries. But he says a recent law passed by the General Assembly—the so-called Religious Freedom Act of 2013, which its detractors believe would undermine local fairness organizations under color of religious freedom—has not hurt his group’s efforts.
“The fact that after that act passed, Frankfort passed its own local anti-discrimination fairness law, and now Morehead is on a pathway to do it in December, speaks to the fact that despite the state legislature’s attempt to thwart fairness progress in Kentucky, it’s still moving forward in a substantial way.”
The full report, including a city-by-city breakdown of the criteria employed in the survey, can be found here.