Human Rights Campaign: Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson "Lead the Way in LGBT Equality"

Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson "lead the way in LGBT equality" in Arizona, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The HRC, an LGBT civil-rights organization, released its annual scorecards for American cities on LGBT equality issues, and the three aforementioned Arizona cities each received perfect scores of 100.

"In Arizona, while Governor Jan Brewer has been staunchly opposed to advances in LGBT equality, cities like Tempe, Tucson, and Phoenix are leading the way forward and not looking back," the organization says in a statement. "Tempe passed an anti-discrimination ordinance this year and in August amended its city charter to ban discrimination against LGBT city workers."

The national average score from the HRC is 59, and only 38 cities nationwide earned a score of 100.

The organization judges the cities based on various laws, ordinances, and policies put into place by the city government, including things like whether the police department reports hate-crime statistics to the FBI, whether there's an LGBT liaison to a city executive, and whether the city offers domestic partner health benefits, among other things.

"All three of these stellar Arizona cities earned a 100-point score (out of 100), helping to set a standard of LGBT inclusiveness with exemplary policies ranging from explicit non-discrimination laws and equal employee benefits, to cutting edge city services," HRC's announcement says. "Last year, Phoenix earned a 100, while Tempe earned a 72 and Tucson earned a 90. Tempe's dramatic improvement this year led to the city being profiled in the 2014 MEI report." (Click here to see that report.)

The scores of all Arizona cities are bolstered by the fact that same-sex marriage is now legal in the state -- a factor that's taken into account by the HRC's scoring process.

Although any other state laws regarding LGBT equality aren't taken into account in the analysis, Cathryn Oakley, legislative council for the Human Rights Campaign, tells New Times that puts all the cities on the same playing field in this comparison.

"Every city has the ability to get up to 100 points, regardless of state law," she says, and acknowledged that a perfect score of 100 could be seen as more impressive in a state where there aren't strong pro-equality laws.

With that, even Mesa -- purportedly the most conservative city in the country -- has a score of 59, equal to the national average.

Of the nine Arizona cities that received scores from the HRC, only Gilbert, Glendale, and Peoria received below-average scores, of 43, 36, and 33, respectively.

Check out Phoenix's scorecard below, and find the rest of the cities' scores here.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley