MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The city of Morgantown earned full marks on an annual report card that grades cities on how inclusive they are for the LGBTQ community, the second West Virginia city to do so.
The Human Rights Campaign released its annual Municipal Equality Index Thursday morning, and several West Virginia cities scored highly, according to a press release by West Virginia Fairness. Both Morgantown and Huntington earned full marks, while other cities in the state improved their score.
“It’s time for the world to know that West Virginia can be a welcoming place where all kinds of people belong,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia. “We’ve known for a long time these communities are welcoming, and today’s report card proves that. I congratulate the leaders of Morgantown for all of their hard work this year toward inclusivity. I look forward to more cities joining the ranks of these all stars, and to leaders at the state level stepping up to protect all Mountaineers from discrimination.”
The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ equality.
Morgantown’s score in the 2020 MEI was 77, meaning the city jumped 23 points in a single year. Part of Morgantown’s significant score increase was because members of its city council adopted a bill to ban the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.
“The city of Morgantown is a welcoming place where everyone is valued,” said Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin. “We’ve worked hard together as a community to advance policies that will ensure our LGBTQ residents can live free from discrimination, and we will continue this important work in the future. All of our children, including our LGBTQ children and their friends, deserve the chance to grow up in communities that support them. I’m proud that our city has earned full marks on the Municipal Equality Index this year.”
Prior to Morgantown’s conversion therapy ban, the City of Charleston adopted the state’s first ban in August.
Leaders from Morgantown, Charleston and Huntington joined Fairness West Virginia to announce the scores and celebrate the improvements. A recording of the full event can be viewed here.
If you want to learn more about how different cities in West Virginia scored, scorecards for individual cities can be viewed here.