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Central, northern Illinois cities rank high in HRC Municipal Equality Index

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CHICAGO — Chicago, Champaign and Rockford led the state in this year’s Municipal Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign.

Chicago was the only Illinois city to get 100 while Rockford and Champaign tied for second with a score of 79.

Carbondale, in southern Illinois, was the only city listed that wasn’t in central or northern Illinois. It came in at the bottom of the list with a score of 42 and was the only one with a score below 60.

The scores are:

Chicago100
Champaign79
Rockford79
Peoria72
Aurora70
Springfield68
Joliet65
Naperville65
Carbondale42

The HRC said in its report that cities were selected were state capitals, largest cities, homes to a state’s two largest public universities, high proportions of same-sex couples or ones selected by members of the HRC and Equality Federation groups. For Illinois, that meant no cities in western or eastern Illinois, the Quad Cities or MetroEast were in the list.

Carbondale got the lowest score because any non-discrimination laws were state laws, the one local ordinance was non-discrimination by city contractors and the city has a human rights commission. For both law enforcement and leadership, Carbondale got 0 out of a total of 30 points.

Chicago, at the other end of the scale, lost points on pro-equality legislation, transgender-inclusive health coverage, an inclusive workplace, non-discrimination ordinance enforcement, and an LGBTQ liason on the police force. It made up enough with bonus points, such as LGBTQ elected officials and domestic partnership benefits, to get a full 100.

“This report on LGBTQ equality at the local level couldn’t be more timely. There are critical decisions being made about our lives at the Supreme Court, in the federal administration and state and local legislative bodies. If they listen to the millions of Americans represented in this report the answer should be simple: we need protections for LGBTQ people now,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation Institute. “We are proud to partner with HRC on the Municipal Equality Index. It is a powerful tool for elected officials and community leaders to use as they advocate for equality. This marks the third year in a row that the national city score average increased, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that number continues to grow. It’s time for leaders at every level to take a stand and demand that no one be treated differently because of who they are, where they live, or who they love.”

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.

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