Louisiana scores low on National Equality Index

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 10:06am

Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released their second annual Municipal Equality Index in which they score large cities across the U.S. based on the services and protections they offer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Three cities in Louisiana were scored: Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Regarding the report, HRC Foundation President Chad Griffin wrote, “The message is clear. Equality isn’t just for the coasts anymore. Real leadership is happening from Atlanta to Missoula to Salt Lake City and everywhere in between.”

Louisiana’s scores, however, have a long way to go before equality is a reality in our state. Though New Orleans scored 91 out of 100, Baton Rouge received a 7, and Shreveport scored a 16.

Adrienne Critcher, Political Director of People Acting for Change and Equality (PACE), an LGBT organization in Shreveport, states she is happy Shreveport was included in the report.

“PACE is pleased that a national organization noticed the efforts that our city is making to be welcoming to all, and we believe that Shreveport’s score of 16 can definitely be improved to better reflect the actual attitudes of its citizens towards their LGBT friends, neighbors and family members. We are very much aware that we are competing with cities like Austin (with a score of 100), New Orleans (91) and Dallas (85) for business and for our talented young people who want to live and work in a place that is fair and full of economic opportunity for everyone,” Critcher says.

As a statewide coalition, Equality Louisiana would like to see higher scores for all three cities in next year’s report.

“If we hope to see equality for everyone in Louisiana, a decent score in one city just is not enough. We need to work to move the entire state forward on issues of equality,” says EQLA President Tim S. West.

West says EQLA and all of the coalition’s members and partners plan to work to raise the scores in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans as the 2014 Legislative Session, beginning on March 10, draws closer.

In Louisiana, there are currently no statewide laws protecting LGBT people from employment and housing discrimination. In previous years, the state legislature has even voted against an anti-bullying bill because it contained the words sexual orientation.



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