By Grace Lieberman
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Thursday that Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson have earned perfect ratings on their Municipal Equality Index for their efforts to ensure equality for LGBTQ+ residents.
In a video posted to Twitter, Mayor Kate Gallego said this was the eighth year in a row that Phoenix has received the “important designation.”
Vice Mayor Betty Guardado said in a press release that the city has “much to celebrate,” about their consistent high scores, but their efforts will not end there.
“While this is an important recognition, we still have work to do, and must continue to support the LGBTQ community to make Phoenix a safe and inclusive city for everyone,” Guardado said.
Gallego attributed the city’s high score partly to the expansion of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to include protections based on gender and sexual orientation in 2012.
“I’m hopeful that in the future there will be a federal non-discrimination ordinance, but until that time, cities are among the guardians of these protections,” Gallego said.
The City of Tempe tweeted Friday afternoon that the light display on the top of the city hall building will be rainbow-hued for the weekend to celebrate the city’s achievement.
HRC scores their Municipal Equality Index by looking at a city’s non-discrimination laws, their quality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city’s leaders’ public positions on equality. Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson are among 94 of 506 cities rated to receive a perfect score, and Flagstaff was also named as an “All-Star City” with a score of 88.
“Phoenix has said in the strongest of words that we want to be a city that honors all of our residents regardless of who you choose to love,” Gallego said.
Though these cities received high marks from HRC, the state as a whole has received a low rating from the nonprofit think tank Movement Advancement Project (MAP)’s policy tally due to the state government’s lack of a ban on conversion therapy or the panic defense as well as a lack of sufficient protections for LGBTQ+ students and families.