Covington Scores Second-Highest in State from LGBT Advocacy Group
The City of Covington's score on the Municipal Equality Index increased two points, making it the second highest-scoring city in Kentucky in ratings released by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT advocacy group.
HRC measures cities' laws, policies, and services and how they treat and protect LGBT citizens and employees.
Covington scored 96 out of 100, an increase from last year's 94.
Two years ago, the city scored 74.
The average score of 506 cities assessed across the United States was 64.
Covington officials lauded the news and said the higher score reflected aggressive efforts to institutionalize and codify the City’s work on diversity.
“This is evidence of our long-standing commitment to equality and inclusion,” Mayor Joe Meyer said. “We are proud of being a welcoming community.”
The MEI rates cities on things like non-discriminatory laws, the city as an employer, services, law enforcement, and the public position on equality of the city’s leadership. Covington’s score of 96 places it second in Kentucky, behind only Louisville.
Covington’s scorecard can be seen here.
Economic Development Director Tom West said Covington’s score both promotes its core values and makes it easier to attract talent, jobs, and investment.
“Talent is the most important thing to companies we are trying to attract to Covington,” West said. “And this score and the welcoming environment it represents are vital to attracting the talented workers companies need to compete. We could not be more proud of the community we are representing to the business world.”
In the last year or so, Covington has taken a number of steps to improve its score, including passing an ordinance banning discrimination by city contractors for sexual orientation and gender identity and banning so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.
A new NKY Pride Center is opening two blocks from City Hall as a place to host cultural, arts and social programming; provide legal support and meeting space where needed; and to develop training for employers, agencies, teachers, and others interested in becoming LGBT allies.
in 2003, Covington became one of the first cities in Kentucky to codify its commitment to protecting all people from discrimination by passing a Human Rights Ordinance that added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, prohibiting discrimination within the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, resort and amusement.
Several other Northern Kentucky cities have adopted similar policies in the past eighteen months.
MEI scores for Kentucky cities:
· 100 – Louisville
· 96 – Covington
· 95 – Lexington
· 66 – Frankfort
· 55 – Morehead
· 35 -- Berea
· 20 -- Bowling Green
· 18 – Owensboro
Photo: A gay pride flag flies near RiverCenter during the Northern Kentucky Pride parade in 2019 (RCN file)