HRC Municipal Equality Index reveals Tennessee urban/rural divide

HRC MEI-2016 for web.png

A new Municipal Equality Index, compiled by LGBT advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign in collaboration with the Equality Federation Institute, has revealed the extremes by which the organizations deem LGBT life in the state.

The highest ranking city in Tennessee is Nashville, though it scores just 60/100. By contrast, sixty of the 506 total municipalities evaluated scored a perfect 100 score.

Coming in second is Knoxville with 55, followed by Memphis with 53. Murfreesboro ranks at the very bottom in Tennessee with 12/100. See the complete list below.

The Human Rights Campaign, by way of comment on its website, suggests that cities nationwide are moving forward and enacting city-wide legislation, particularly in instances where the state will not step up. Yet it also acknowledges the push-back from state legislatures.

"Unfortunately, our opponents have witnessed this progress, and in recent years, anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have pushed spiteful legislation aimed at pre-empting local protections," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "That’s why it’s so important that we continue to not only fight for equality at the state and local levels, but to enact comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people under the Equality Act.”

According to the report, the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) rates cities based on 44 criteria within these five categories:

  1. 1. Non-discrimination laws
  2. Municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors
  3. Inclusiveness of city services
  4. Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting
  5. Municipal leadership on matters of equality

The full report, a PDF file, is posted on the website (it's also online here) and a searchable interactive database of cities and their rankings is on the HRC website.


Tennessee cities and their Municipal Equality Index scores:
(links are to detailed scores)

Nashville — 60

Knoxville — 55

Memphis — 53

Chattanooga — 34

Franklin — 18

Johnson City — 18

Clarksville — 17

Murfreesboro — 12


HRC's Municipal Equality Index 2016 – Nashville