Five South Dakota cities are listed in a report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in America’s cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. Out of a possible 100 points, Aberdeen received 10, Brookings 34, Pierre 13, Rapid City 19, and Sioux Falls 24. A total of 291 cities were included in the study.

The following is part of a longer media release from the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation Institute:

"The 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the second edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law.  This year’s index finds that cities across the country,  continued to prove that municipalities will act to support equality for LGBT people, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so.  The MEI was issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute. 

Twenty-five cities earned a perfect 100-point score and serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services.

Of cities that scored 100, 8 cities came from states without comprehensive relationship recognition and without statewide non-discrimination laws (compared to two such cities in 2012). Ten percent of cities scored over 96 points. 25% of cities scored 35 points or fewer; and 3.5% of cities scored 10 points or fewer. South Dakota towns surveyed were in the last two categories.

“Equality isn’t just for the coasts anymore,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This groundbreaking report shows that cities and towns across the country, from Vicco, Kentucky to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are leading the charge for basic fairness for LGBT people.” 

The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories:

  • Non-discrimination laws;
  • Relationship recognition;
  • Municipality’s employment and contracting policies;
  • Inclusiveness of city services;
  • Law enforcement; and
  • Municipal leadership on matters of equality."

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