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Flagstaff City Council to Discuss LGBTQ Equality Following National Report

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Ryan Heinsius
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The Flagstaff City Council this week agreed to hold discussions about how to increase LGBTQ equality. The decision follows a recent survey by the Human Rights Campaign that ranks local laws, polices and services. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The yearly Municipal Equality Index evaluates nearly 50 criteria affecting the LGBTQ community. It examines non-discrimination laws, municipal employee benefits, hate crime reporting, and law enforcement, among other factors.

Flagstaff this year received a score of 67 out of 100, up two points from 2016.

"This is a reflection not of lived experience, but of laws and policies that exist on the books," says Xavier Persad, the report's author. "We’re looking at whether the laws and policies that cities have are expressly inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity."

The Human Rights Campaign’s index also includes local leaders’ efforts to advance equality, and whether cities have elected openly LGBTQ officials.

More than 500 cities were ranked in total—11 in Arizona. Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix received perfect ratings, while Gilbert scored 19, and Avondale 15 out of 100.

Meanwhile, Tuesday the Flagstaff City Council rejected a citizen petition to support impeaching President Trump. Mayor Coral Evans and others worried such a move could jeopardize federal funding for municipal projects. In addition, the council moved forward on a possible resolution opposing construction of the president’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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