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Brookings Tops in SD for LGBT Public Policy; Still Below National Average

The Human Rights Campaign has released its 2015 Municipal Equality Index, a measure of how well city policies and ordinances respect the LGBT residents. Since I last reported on the MEI in 2013, Brookings has made significant progress, raising its score from 34 out of 100 to 52. Brookings keeps its spot as the leader in South Dakota for LGBT-tolerant policy… but that’s not saying a lot:

Human Rights Campaign logoThe average score for cities in South Dakota is 23 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 56. Aberdeen: 18, Brookings: 52, Pierre: 12, Rapid City: 22, Sioux Falls: 28, Vermillion: 15, Watertown: 18.

…“The MEI shows that overall South Dakota is not an inviting place for LGBTQ+ to live except for Brookings which has been proactive in creating a welcoming environment,” said Lawrence Novotny, board chair of Equality South Dakota. “Equality South Dakota is attempting to improve the situation in South Dakota” [Human Rights Campaign, press release, 2015.12.17].

Looks like new Sioux Falls human rights community coordinator Julie Briggs needs to drive up to Brookings and ask what policies she needs to import to the Queen City.

Sioux Falls and Brookings leaders then need to take a roadtrip to the Twin Cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul are among the 47 cities out of 408 surveyed that got perfect scores. Only three other cities in adjoining states made that perfect list: Davenport, Iowa City, and Missoula.

The Human Rights Campaign groups the 41 criteria for its MEI into five categories:

  1. Non­discrimination laws;
  2. Municipality’s employment policies, including transgender­-inclusive insurance coverage, contracting non­discrimination requirements, and other policies relating to equal treatment of LGBT city employees;
  3. Inclusiveness of city services;
  4. Law enforcement;
  5. Municipal leadership on matters of equality.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-12-21 14:29

    2 perfect cities in the state of iowa? We also don’t have one party rule and that keeps wingnuts from fomenting all their hate on those they despise.

  2. larry kurtz 2015-12-21 16:37

    Ironic that the Peoples Republic of Brookings is also home to South Dakota’s least tolerant GOP blogger, init?

  3. bearcreekbat 2015-12-21 18:18

    mfi – Iowa confuses me – Steve King? Joni Ernst? tolerant – perfect cities – wow?

  4. mike from iowa 2015-12-21 18:48

    Confuses me,too. Several years ago iowa was the first state to legalize gay marriage and the religious reichstag went ballistic. The next election they got rid of 4 of the Supreme Court Justices that voted for SSM and allowed Guv Terry Braindead to pick their successors. So far no one has tried to overturn SSM and I’m not sure the new justices would vote for it. There was quite a backlash at wingnuts politicizing the court. Texas and Wisconsin haven’t fared as well.

    King is about the least accomplished congressweasel out there. Hasn’t done much in all these years except make stoopid remarks and align himself with Michele Bachmann and Loopy Louie Gohmert of Texas. Ivana Kuturnutzov is not well liked by her constituents. She is destined to be a one term flop. King thrives on crazy.

  5. larry kurtz 2015-12-21 18:52

    the sioux city journal is a lee plant.

  6. larry kurtz 2015-12-21 18:55

    Bret Hayworth is the David Rooks of Iowa.

  7. Lynn 2015-12-21 19:04

    Who is Ivana Kuturnutzov?

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-21 20:26

    Very ironic. If Pat moved, Brookings would get 5 bonus points.

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