The City of Myrtle Beach finally achieved one of Mayor Brenda Bethune’s long term, highest priority goals. Myrtle Beach now ranks as a the top LGBTQIA+ all star city in South Carolina.
The Municipal Equality Index has updated its scores, making Myrtle Beach an All-Star.
Myrtle Beach City Councilman John Krajc
An MEI examines how inclusive municipal policies and laws are for LGBTQ+ residents and workers.
From 59 points to 99 points, the city’s score increased.
According to MEI, Myrtle Beach now has the highest score among cities in the state, beating out Columbia with an 82 and Charleston with a 71.
Myrtle Beach’s Human Rights Commission Chair Adam Hayes explained what it meant to see such a massive increase.
“I can’t believe we jumped from 59 to 99 points last year. It’s something that the entire commission has been working towards for years. For the past five years, it has been one of my top priorities to work on that score. And seeing it finally reap the rewards of all the work you put into it is really exciting.“
Transgender Activist Mayor Brenda Bethune
In Myrtle Beach, the commission is still pushing for a hate crime ordinance to improve the city’s LGBTQIA+ all star city ranking.
Mayor Bethune’s ally, Senator Luke Rankin, works on drafting a hate crime bill for the city.
Luke Rankin has not responded to the commission about the bill’s progress. Passage of the hate crime bill will only improve the city’s standing as a LGBTQIA+ all star city.
What is a Municipal Equality Index (MEI)?
The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is a scoring mechanism used to assess the inclusiveness and equality of municipal laws, policies, and practices towards LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. It was created by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a prominent LGBTQ+ advocacy organization.
The MEI evaluates cities and towns across the United States using a comprehensive set of criteria, including non-discrimination laws, equal employment opportunities, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, inclusive municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ issues, and more.
Scores are assigned on a 100-point scale, with higher scores indicating more LGBTQ+-friendly policies and practices. The evaluation aims to provide a detailed analysis of the level of support and protection that LGBTQ+ residents receive in each municipality.
The MEI not only serves as an annual assessment of LGBTQ+ equity at the local level, but it also helps identify areas for improvement and provides a roadmap for cities to enhance their inclusivity and equality. By highlighting best practices and encouraging positive changes, the MEI fosters progress towards a more equal and inclusive society for all.