U.S. Cities Becoming Friendlier to Gays, Study Shows

Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis, plaintiffs in the 2008 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, celebrate while traveling along Market Street  during the annual Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco on June 28, 2015, two days after the US Supreme Court's landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

America’s cities are becoming friendlier places for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, with a record number earning a perfect score on a “Municipal Equality Index” study released Thursday.

After examining the local laws and policies of more than 400 municipalities across the nation, the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation awarded a 100-percent score to 47 cities, an increase from 38 cities last year, and 11 in 2012, the first year the MEI was published. The winners include cities of all sizes and from all regions of the country, indicating that LGBT people are finding themselves welcome far beyond such large, liberal-leaning cities as New York and San Francisco, the sites of early gay rights struggles.

Mississippi cities were among the lowest on the list, with no city scoring higher than 16 points, and one city — Southaven — earning a score of zero. Alabama was close behind, with a high score of just 21 points and a zero for the city of Auburn. There were a few surprised on the list: New Orleans and Miami did not earn 100-point scores, for example, but Wilton Manors, Florida, and Missoula, Montana, did.

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