COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Several Ohio cities received a perfect score by a national report grading municipalities across the nation for equality, despite a barrage of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the state’s legislature.
The Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index for 2022 examined the inclusivity of local laws, policies and services for LGBTQ+ residents. More than 500 cities were rated based on 49 criteria, including non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.
Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Dublin each achieved a perfect score of 100. However, Lakewood received a final score of 58 and Toledo received a score of 94. This year marked the 10th consecutive that Columbus received a perfect score.
“We are committed to supporting our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters here in central Ohio, and we will continue to collaborate and engage with partners throughout the community to achieve additional progress and strengthen existing freedoms and protections,” said the office of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Nationwide, 120 cities scored a 100 while 25% scored over 95, 50% scored over 71 and 25% scored under 51. The report said the average score was 69. Eight cities received a 0.
Municipalities receiving a 100 are driven by leaders passing ordinances like a ban on anti-LGBTQ+ tactics known as conversion therapy, the report said. In Ohio, 11 localities have banned conversion therapy, including Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Reynoldsburg and Toledo.
“Our young folks, they need to know that we are standing with and for them,” Erin Upchurch, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus, previously said to NBC4. “They need to hear us speak out against these things that are made to harm them. To say that it’s wrong — reparative therapy is wrong, conversion therapy is wrong.”
The 11 cities are part of 41 municipalities nationwide without a state ban on conversion therapy. Rather, Ohio’s general assembly has introduced several anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including a “divisive concepts” bill opponents have dubbed a “Don’t Say Gay” bill and a bill banning various medical procedures for transgender or non-binary minors.
In addition, the state board of education has introduced a resolution rejecting proposed federal protections for LGBTQ+ students.
Still, the report noted the power cities hold in moving the needle toward equality in conservative states like Ohio. HRC singled our Dublin as a success story in 2022. In the past few years, Dublin has initiated a task force to combat social injustice, adopted a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance, established two new LGBTQ+ liaison positions and more.
“We have taken many significant steps to strengthen our outward efforts aimed at ensuring all people know they are welcome and respected in our community and that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated,” said Dublin Major Jane Fox.
View each city scored by the HRC in all 50 states here.