Cedar Rapids responds to low LGBT equality score - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids responds to low LGBT equality score

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The scores are in for four Iowa cities and how they rate when it comes to equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

A new report by the Human Rights Campaign gave Iowa City and Davenport 90 out of a possible 100 points. Des Moines was right behind with 88, while Cedar Rapids scored 63.

Officials in Cedar Rapids working towards equality are aware of the score.

Anthony Brown was already working for Diversity Focus when they created the LGBT Fellow position, a role which he also took.

"I am completely open and out in the workplace and in my professional life and in the community as well," said Brown.

Brown was hurt to hear Cedar Rapids only scored 63 out of a possible 100 points in the Municipal Equality Index. The Human Rights Campaign evaluated cities based on laws, policies and services for LGBT citizens.

"I don't think this is a bad place to live for anyone," said Brown.

Cedar Rapids did well, however, when it comes to non-discrimination laws and relationship recognition thanks to some of Iowa's state laws.

The sub-category that really hurt Cedar Rapids' score examined how equality is handled when the city itself is the employer. It's the section that carries the most weight, and Cedar Rapids scored just 10 out of a possible 26 points.

"It was a little bit of an ouch," said John-Paul Chaisson Cardenas, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission.

The commission works to see equality for all people in Cedar Rapids, including the LGBTQ community.

He believes the report underscores Cedar Rapids in some areas. Cardenas cited the city's ordinances protecting city contractors from discrimination.

"We actually have statutes that protect the employment of any person regardless of sexual orientation," said Cardenas.

He believes there is still work to be done in Cedar Rapids, however, which is why the commission is developing the "State of Equity in Cedar Rapids" Report showing where the city can improve opportunities for all groups including the LGBTQ community.

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