Fall Editorial Board 2016
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation issues a Municipal Equality Index.
This scorecard shows the rankings of more than 500 cities nationwide with respect to how well or poorly they promote LGBTQ inclusivity and equality.
According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, cities are rated based on nondiscrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, city leadership and the law enforcement’s position on equality.
The eight Alabama cities that were scored received an average score of 8 out of 100, with Auburn sitting at the bottom of the list with a 0 out of 100.
It’s not too much of a surprise that Auburn didn’t perform as well as cities like Orlando or Philadelphia, but it is outrageous that Auburn is one of the only eight cities across the United States which received absolutely zero points for LGBTQ inclusivity and equality.
Auburn’s laws don’t protect its LGBTQ citizens enough, and that’s got to change.
We call for legislation to ensure LGBTQ people can’t be denied housing over their sexuality, for Auburn’s public schools to outline anti-bullying policies which defend LGBTQ students and for general legislation to be passed that would prevent discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Some may call these demands immoral on the grounds that it makes easier the lives of people whom many view as living an immoral lifestyle, thus enabling the lifestyle itself.
Though such demands may cause disturbance in those who cherish the status quo, it cannot be argued that they are immoral on such grounds.
The choice of adopting an LGBTQ lifestyle isn’t contingent upon whether it’ll make getting a home easier; it’s largely innate, as shown by scientific research indicating it has a biological basis.
But even if it were a choice, as many religiously-minded dissenters charge, it wouldn’t matter because church and state must remain separate, especially when church attempts to restrict the ability of certain groups of people to live free and happy lives. Purely religious justifications for preventing these laws don’t stand.
Neither could these demands be considered unreasonable.
It’s undeniable that LGBTQ people face more discrimination generally than non-LGBTQ people.
This is made evident by the fact LGBTQ people only had their right to be married acknowledged last year.
This general incongruence in obstacles facing LGBTQ people and heterosexual people is obvious to anyone who can pick up a history book, look at the news or digest the events going on around them in their own communities.
Auburn University students comprise over half of the city of Auburn’s population.
We can have a strong voice, and we have a moral obligation to use that voice to advocate for the inclusiveness and equality our LGBTQ family members deserve.
We need to ensure our family is protected, not only on campus, but also in our community. This will involve interacting with city officials and demanding nondiscrimination policies and laws.
Auburn can carry the mantle in leading the fight for LGBTQ equality in Alabama.
It’s not like other cities are far ahead of us, with the highest score in Alabama belonging to Birmingham with a proud 12 out of 100.
Let’s lead this charge and extend the Auburn Family to those not only on our campus, but in our city as well.