October 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Rockville wins highest LGBT ‘city’ rating in D.C. area
Rockville, gay news, Washington Blade

Rockville, Md. (Photo by Aude; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The city of Rockville, Md., received a rating of 98 out of a possible 100 in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Municipal Equality Index, placing the suburban Maryland jurisdiction at the top of the ratings on LGBT supportive laws and policies among D.C. area municipalities.

The 2016 Municipal Equality Index, released on Oct. 17, rates 506 cities in all 50 states. D.C. is not included in the ratings because the HRC Foundation and its partner in the ratings index, the Equality Federation Institute, treat D.C. as a state and include it in a separate state equality index ratings process.

Among the D.C.-area jurisdictions rated for 2016, Rockville rose from a rating of 60 in 2015 to its current rating of 98, placing it ahead of Alexandria and Arlington, Va., which received 2016 ratings of 86 and 87 respectively.

College Park, Md., which has a gay mayor, came in fourth place in the D.C.-area scores, with a 2016 rating of 83.

The 2016 Municipal Equality Index ratings for other D.C. area municipalities included Gaithersburg, Md.—59; Bowie, Md.—56; and Fairfax County, Va.—33.

The Fairfax County rating represented a decline by 10 points from a rating of 43 in 2015. The score shows that the county lost 10 points this year for not fulfilling the category of “LGBTQ Police Liaison or Task Force.” It received 10 points for that category in 2015, according to a ratings chart for Fairfax County.

As it has during the past three years, Baltimore received a perfect rating of 100 this year. Nearby Towson, Md. received a rating of 94; Frederick, Md., received an 86 rating; and Annapolis, Md., the state capital, was given a rating of 65.

Other Virginia municipality ratings include Charlottesville—72; Norfolk—49; and Richmond—46.

Rehoboth Beach, Del., a beach resort town popular with LGBT people, received a rating of 62, the highest rating among Delaware municipalities.

San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles and Orlando and Wilton Manors in Florida were among the cities to receive a rating of 100.

The HRC Foundation says in a statement that the ratings are based on 44 specific criteria that fall under four broad categories: non-discrimination laws; LGBT inclusive municipal employment policies; LGBT inclusiveness in city services; LGBT supportive law enforcement policies, including hate crimes reporting; and “municipal leadership” on matters of equality.

The full report can be viewed at hrc.org/mei.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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