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Olympia ranks as one of Washington’s most LGBT-friendly cities

Olympia has joined the ranks as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in Washington.

Olympia scored 100 out of 100 possible points in the 2014 Municipal Equality Index. Sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the index rates cities nationwide based on their sensitivity and outreach to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The average score for cities in Washington is 85 out of 100 points, which exceeds the national average of 59, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Olympia and Seattle both scored 100 points. Tacoma scored 92 points, Vashon had 86 points, Vancouver had 68 points and Spokane got 64 points, according to the campaign. Of the 353 municipalities ranked in the index, only 38 received perfect scores.

Olympia’s perfect score is a drastic improvement over last year, in which the city received 67 out of 100 possible points. In 2013, the city had scored lowest in the categories of “municipality as employer,” “municipal services” and “law enforcement.”

Olympia revised city codes earlier this year to help raise the index score. The revisions expanded the definition of sexual orientation, especially related to gender expression and identity.

The revised code requires certain city contractors – with projects totaling $50,000 or more - to sign a declaration stating that they have non-discrimination policies. Olympia city code was also updated to reflect the legality of same-sex marriage in Washington.

In addition, the Olympia Police Department appointed Lt. Bill Wilson as the LGBT community liaison. The position promotes public safety projects and programs aimed at creating positive relationships and effective dialogue between police and the LGBT community, according to the city.

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