City of Yonkers Scores Perfect 100 on 2016 Municipal Equality Index
YONKERS, NY – October 18, 2016 – The Human Rights Commission Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, this week released its fifth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law and policy, scoring the City of Yonkers with a perfect 100. Yonkers was one of four cities in New York to receive a perfect score and one of 60 nationally.
“Our administration works tirelessly toward full equality amongst our residents and employees,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “I am proud to join a growing list of communities with a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index. Our rating reflects diversity as Yonkers’ greatest strength and the respect we have for one another, regardless of who you love.”
This marks the second consecutive year the City of Yonkers has scored a perfect score on the MEI. Yonkers was specifically recognized for its non-discrimination laws; transgender-inclusive insurance coverage; elected gay officials, as well as the LGBTQ Advisory Board Mayor Spano established in 2014.
Michael Sabatino, Yonkers City Council Minority Leader stated, “I am proud to know that Yonkers was one of 60 cities nationwide to score a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index. We can attribute this to the hard work of Mayor Spano’s administration and the Mayor’s LGBTQ advisory board. Yonkers is truly a diverse city where our residents are respected and embraced regardless of their ethnicity, religion or their sexual orientation. We promote a safe environment that allows everyone to co-exist and creates an atmosphere that allows all to contribute to the betterment of the City of Yonkers. Congratulations to all.”
Robert Voorheis, of Mayor Spano’s LQBTQ Advisory Board commented, “The Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board is pleased that through the efforts of the Mayor, his staff, the Commissioners and the City Council Minority Leader, we again have received a 100% rating. Yonkers is working very hard to provide a safe environment for the members of the LBGTQ Community and all citizens of our great city.”
The 2016 MEI reveals that cities across the nation are not waiting for their states to extend vital protections to the LGBTQ community, nor are they intimidated by some state elected officials threatening to deny cities the ability to extend fully-inclusive protections to their residents and workers. This year, 60 cities earned perfect scores for advancing fully-inclusive policies and practices -- up from 47 in 2015 and 11 in 2012, the first year of the MEI -- at a time when the nation has been seeing a record number of anti-LGBTQ measures proposed by state elected officials bent on promoting discrimination.
The MEI rates cities based on 44 criteria that fall into five broad categories:
· Non-discrimination laws
· Municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors
· Inclusiveness of city services
· Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting
· Municipal leadership on matters of equality