Jefferson City gets failing grade on LGBTQ survey

Jefferson City was one of 11 cities nationwide to receive the lowest possible score on a nationwide survey of municipal LGBTQ protections. (Garrett Bergquist/ KRCG 13)

Jefferson City's mayor on Friday said a survey that gave her city low marks for LGBTQ protections doesn't tell the whole story.

The Human Rights Campaign this week released its sixth annual municipal equality index. The study rates 506 cities nationwide based on criteria such as non-discrimination laws, services for LGBTQ people and non-discrimination in employment by the city and businesses the city contracts with. Jefferson City was one of 11 cities nationwide to receive a score of 0 points out of a possible 100.

Mayor Carrie Tergin said Jefferson City is a welcoming community with several LGBTQ-owned businesses. She said the city does not tolerate discrimination.

"Although the score is low when there's issues, they come to the city council, and when there are things that need to be done from any perspective, then we look at ordinances," she said.

The report noted the absence of any programs such as a standing human-rights panel, but Tergin said Jefferson City has had a human relations commission for years. She said the board is currently inactive because nobody has signed up for it. She is currently pushing for more citizen involvement on this and other inactive panels.

There are no protections for LGBTQ people in the city code. Tergin said if someone felt more protections were needed, the city council would be happy to discuss it.

The HRC report featured a total of 8 Missouri cities. Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City each received a maximum score of 100. Cape Girardeau received the next-lowest score of 3 points.

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