Atlanta: Only City in the South to Net Perfect Score For LGBT Inclusion

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    HRC Kasim ReedWhile many say Georgia has a long way to go when it comes to equal rights for gays and lesbians, the city of Atlanta was given a perfect score by the Human Rights Campaign’s 2013 Municipal Equality Index, the only city in the Deep South to do so.

    The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there. According to HRC, Atlanta was the first and only city in what the group called the Deep South to earn the commendation.

    On Wednesday Reed joined HRC President Chad Griffin, Atlanta Councilmember Alex Wan, Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta’s LGBT Liaison Robin Shahar and Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham at Atlanta’s City Hall for a press conference to celebrate the launch of the 2013 MEI.

    “This city has a rich history of upholding human rights and providing equal opportunity to all people,” said Reed. “Atlanta’s commitment to equality includes outlawing discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.”

    The mayor was also feted by the organization for his work with the Atlanta LGBT community. Reed was the chief sponsor of Georgia’s only LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill, and as a state senator led the opposition against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    On August 14, Reed designated Robin Shahar as Mayoral Advisor on LGBT Issues, and also signed a bill to update Atlanta Code to ensure the inclusion of gender identity in non-discrimination provisions.

    The mayor made note of the recognition in a message he emailed to supporters earlier this week. Read the full statement below.

    I am proud to be mayor of the first deep Southern city to achieve a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index, an evaluation of municipalities on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there.

    Atlanta’s history of civil rights leadership is rooted in the belief that our diversity makes our city stronger. Our commitment to equality includes outlawing discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, Atlanta is home to one of the largest and most vibrant LGBT communities in the country.

    Last week, I was honored to join Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, Atlanta Councilmember Alex Wan, Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta’s LGBT Liaison Robin Shahar and Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham at Atlanta’s City Hall for a press conference to celebrate the launch of the 2013 Municipal Equality Index.

    I look forward to continuing my efforts to achieve equal protection and equal treatment of Atlanta’s LGBT residents, workers, and visitors.

    To read more from Mayor Reed and see how other cities rank on LGBT issues, visit www.hrc.org/mei.

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