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Grand Forks rated for best equality in the state

Grand Forks was No. 1 in North Dakota in a ranking designed to look at the trajectory of equality and protections for the LGBTQ community.

Grand Forks received 56 out of 100 points in the annual Human Rights Campaign's Municipality Index. It has more than double the state average of 26, but still lags behind the national average of 58.

The study looked at non-discrimination laws, municipality as employer, city services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ equality. Grand Forks has a city law that provides protection from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in relation to housing, but not employment or public accommodations. The state or county does not have any sexual identity or gender non-discrimination laws, the survey said.

Grand Forks provides for non-discrimination in city employment, but doesn't offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits or city contractor non-discrimination ordinances. Grand Forks law enforcement received full points for having a LGBTQ police liason or task force and reported hate crime statistics to the FBI. The city also scored well on leadership positions and efforts toward pro-equality policies.

The study looked at 506 cities, chosen by size, university location, proportion of same-sex couples and selected by HRC members and supporters. Seven North Dakota towns were surveyed, including Fargo, Bismarck, Jamestown, Mandan, Minot and West Fargo. Jamestown received the state's lowest score, with only seven points, while Fargo trailed Grand Forks by only a point.

To view the full results, visit hrc.org/mei.

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