13 November 2014


Original Story: woodtv.com

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids received an average score from an LGBT civil rights group that rates cities on how inclusive they are for the LGBT community.

The Human Rights Campaign released its third annual Municipal Equality Index Wednesday. The group looks at laws, policies, and services in cities across the nation to score them.

Grand Rapids scored a 59 out of 100, which is the same as the national average.

The city got a plus for its nondiscrimination policy in city employment. The author of the report told 24 Hour News 8 that’s significant for a city that doesn’t have the benefit of state law.

“Grand Rapids is an example of a city that’s doing better than the state, frankly, and it’s amazing to see so many cities are really excelling where the state are perhaps not there yet,” Cathryn Oakley, the HRC’s legislative counsel, said in a phone interview. The MetroHealth Pride Clinic is devoted to serving the health needs of the LGBT community.

The report also points out where Grand Rapids needs to improve.

One area is law enforcement. The Grand Rapids Police Department doesn’t have an LGBT police liaison, which the group says is the best practice nationwide. The liaison would ensure that hate crime evidence is processed appropriately and that members of the LGBT community are treated respectfully if they’re arrested.

According to the Municipal Equality Index, Detroit, East Lansing and Lansing have LGBT police liaisons or task forces.

In Michigan, the index rated East Lansing the best, giving it a perfect score. Ann Arbor came in next with a score of 83. Detroit scored a 74.

No other West Michigan cities were included in the index.

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