Dayton gets perfect score for diversity

The city is among several in Ohio recognized by the Human Rights Campaign.

Dayton was one of 60 U.S. communities to earn a perfect score from a group that evaluates local jurisdictions’ policies, laws, benefits and services protecting and benefiting LGBTQ people.

Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati received scores of 100 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s fifth annual Municipal Equality Index, which rated more than 500 U.S. cities on dozens of measures related to inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination.

Other Ohio cities that received high marks included Toledo (89), Akron (82) and Cleveland (81). Lakewood scored a 77 and Dublin a 34.

Dayton has earned national acclaim for its acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, including being declared the no. 1 "Queerest City in America" by the Advocate, which is a LGBTQ-interest magazine.

“We talk all the time about millennials wanting diverse and inclusive communities and that’s what we are trying to build in Dayton and … this shows we’re walking the talk,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

The index scored cities across the nation on their non-discrimination laws; benefits, protections and municipal services for LGBTQ employees and residents; and their relationship to this segment of the population. Across the nation, the average municipal score was 55 points.

Dayton scored very highly on the index in past years, but this was the first time it received perfect marks.

In addition, Dayton once again was recognized as an “all star” city for its laws and policies that promote equality in state that lacks fully inclusive LGBTQ non-discrimination laws, according to the campaign.

Inclusivity and equality are among Dayton’s core values, but also they are good business because young people increasingly want to live in places that embrace diversity, city officials said.

“The HRC Municipality Equality Index examines issues of importance to LGBTQ people, but it also is a template for a city to use in measuring its inclusivity to all groups of people,” said Kerry Gray, Dayton’s director of the commission who was among the first gay people to be wed in Ohio when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must allow same-sex marriage.

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