For 2nd year in a row, Lawrence receives perfect score on index measuring LGBTQ inclusivity in local government

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

A gay pride flag whips in the wind as marchers prepare for a march down Massachusetts Street in this file photo from April 23, 2005.

For the second year in a row, the City of Lawrence has received a perfect score on an index designed to inform municipal officials on how well cities across the country embody LGBTQ+ inclusion in their laws, policies and services.

The city announced Tuesday that it once again earned a score of 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index. Last year Lawrence became the first city in Kansas in the history of the Human Rights Campaign to earn a perfect score.

“This achievement is not just a milestone,” Farris Muhammad, director of equity for the City of Lawrence, said in a release. “It is a reflection of our shared commitment to creating a workplace where every individual feels valued, respected and included.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a national education and advocacy organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ+ people, has issued its annual index since 2012, ranking cities on a scale of zero to 100 based on criteria covering nondiscrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.

According to Tuesday’s release, Lawrence earned 100% of the standard points available in all five of those qualities, as well as “bonus/flex” points for the following categories:

• Protection of youth from conversion therapy.

• City employee domestic partner benefits.

• Services to LGBTQ+ older adults.

• Services to people living with HIV or AIDS.

• Openly LGBTQ+ elected or appointed leaders.

• Testing the limits of restrictive state law.

The Human Rights Campaign ranked 506 cities in 2023, with a national average of 71 points per municipality. Lawrence tied with Overland Park for the highest ranking in Kansas. The full list of scores for cities in Kansas follows:

• Lawrence: 100

• Overland Park: 100

• Wichita: 98

• Topeka: 97

• Manhattan: 82

• Olathe: 69

• Emporia: 69

• Kansas City: 63

• Hutchinson: 61

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city on a searchable database, is available on the Human Rights Campaign website.


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