LGBTQ group awards city 99/100 score

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 20, 2023

 Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor and city officials attend a Pride flag raising ceremony in June with the Sterling Heights CommUNITY Alliance.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor and city officials attend a Pride flag raising ceremony in June with the Sterling Heights CommUNITY Alliance.

Photo provided by the city of Sterling Heights


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights officials recently celebrated a new high score for the city on a rubric that measures LGBTQ rights and advocacy.

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, uses its Municipal Equality Index to rate cities for their policies and services. The group said on its website that it analyzed 506 U.S. cities based on 49 criteria in 2023, and 129 of those cities got a top 100 score.

“Since the inception of the MEI in 2011, we have witnessed city leaders from every corner of this nation demonstrate commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ equality through both word and deed,” Human Rights Campaign Foundation President Kelley Robinson said on the site.

This year, Sterling Heights achieved a rating of 99 out of 100 points. It earned 30 out of 30 points for nondiscrimination laws for employment, housing and public accommodations. The city earned 28 out of 28 points as an employer, as well as 22 out of 22 points for law enforcement.

It earned 10 out of 12 points for municipal services, with two points deducted for lacking an enforcement mechanism for its human rights commission. The city also got 7 out of 8 points for leadership on LGBTQ+ equality, with one point deducted under the “leadership’s pro-equality legislative or policy efforts” category.

In addition, the HRC said the city gained two bonus “flex points” that rounded out Sterling Heights’ final score to 99. Other local scores included a 59 for Warren, a 64 for Pleasant Ridge, and 100 for Ferndale, Detroit and Ann Arbor.

In a statement, Sterling Heights Human Resources Manager Kate Baldwin called the city’s score “near perfect.”

“We have also launched additional initiatives since 2019 including our police department adjusting their coding to capture reports of hate and bias, launching our first ever human rights commission called the CommUNITY Alliance, and embarking on our own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey to develop a transformative DEI Strategy for City staff and community,” Baldwin said.

Sterling Heights’ index rating has soared quickly over the years. In 2019, the MEI only gave Sterling Heights an 8. But the score rose to 38 in 2020, 61 in 2021, and 91 in 2022.

At the Dec. 5 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, councilmen Henry Yanez and Michael Radtke praised the latest news. Radtke added that the city’s score was “very pitiful” when he first joined the council, and he said the city’s efforts and showing its work toward making the city welcoming and inclusive paid dividends.

“We got the score up to 99, but it should have been 100, because I read the application, and it said on the application, you get 1 point if you have an elected or appointed official who is LGBTQ, and we do have those folks over at the CommUNITY Alliance. So we should’ve had 100 points,” Radtke said.

“I don’t think we can correct the score for this year, but next year we should have 100, and I’m very proud of the work that they’ve done over there.”

Learn more about the Municipal Equality Index by visiting or Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting sterling