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Study: Lambertville More Supportive of LGBTQ Community Than New Hope

Human Rights Campaign on the march.

The City of Lambertville last week received a 98% score in the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index (MEI), while New Hope was awarded an 80% grade.

“The MEI demonstrates the ways that many cities can—and do—support the LGBTQ people who live and work there, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so,” said the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in its report.

“Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality,” the group said.

Lambertville attained nearly perfect grades in all major categories — the second highest score in New Jersey.

“I know that our diversity enriches our community and makes it stronger,” Mayor Dave Del Vecchio said. “That is why we work hard to ensure that all of our residents, including our LGBTQ residents, are treated equally and with respect. I am proud to receive these high marks from the Human Rights Campaign.”

“Members of the LGBTQ community participate actively in city government, serving on the city council and on a broad array of city boards and commissions,” Lambertville officials added in a statement.

New Hope scored well on its anti-discrimination laws, the inclusiveness of its municipal services and programs, and its relationship to the LGBTQ community, but stumbled as an employer, falling short with regard to transgender-inclusive health benefits and contractor non-discrimination ordinances.

The borough also scored poorly on the fairness of its law enforcement by failing to report hate crime statistics to the FBI.

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and Allentown received a 100-point score for the first time. They joined Philadelphia, a 100-point city in the MEI since the inaugural report in 2012.

Pittsburgh was the first city to pass an ordinance protecting youth from conversion “therapy” in the state, followed by Philadelphia and Allentown.

Ambler Borough, Dickson City, Wilkes-Barre City, Carlisle Kennett Square, Phoenixville, Royersford, Camp Hill, Stroudsburg, and Upper Dublin Township meach passed nondiscrimination ordinances, taking the state total to 44.

The information reflected in the study was gathered by the MEI team and compiled into draft scorecards using publicly available information. Cities were then offered an opportunity to review the scorecards, ask any questions, and submit any additional information they wished the MEI team to consider.

MEI says it sent out a letter in April to mayors and city managers notifying them that their cities were being rated by email and certified mail, followed by a draft scorecard sent to the mayors and city managers in June also via email and certified mail. The feedback window lasted four weeks. Finally, cities were sent their final scorecards and information MEI 2017 in the same way. Equality Federation state groups also were able to review the scorecards and provide feedback to the MEI team prior to publication, according to the group.

As the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans, the Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide — all committed to making HRC’s vision a reality. HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community, says the group.



About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • I think the artical covered the mimum and failed to inform the public of why this job was not completed in a timely manner. What was so important in that Mayor Larry Keller couldn’t have time to complete this forms on behalf of the LGBTQ community.? Does he really know what’s best for the New Hope?

  • Since becoming mayor some 20 years ago, Mayor Keller has performed over 700 marriages. The $100,000 received for these services was donated to many needy causes.

  • Hey Funbud, performing marriage ceremonies isn’t the Mayor’s “job”, its something a mayor is legally allowed to do. Just like the captain of a ship is legally allowed to perform marriage ceremonies. So if you asked the captain of an ocean going vessel to perform your marriage ceremony–at the last minute–while he was navigating the ship you were on through a treacherous, iceberg ridden area of the sea would you be mad about him or her saying no? Of course not. But somehow, when you called the mayor of a tourist town–at the last minute–and asked him to perform a wedding during high tourist season when 1) he needs to keep his focus on town and the police force he oversees and 2) he needs to take whatever leftover time he has to manage the business he owns in town, you think its okay to speak out against him because he didn’t drop all of his other responsibilities to work around your schedule. Unreal.

    • Ha! All I know about Keller is that my partner and I were going to get married after 30+ years. We got a list of judges/mayors who perform marriages from the courthouse and Keller was on it. We kind of put thing off and then time was running out (we only wanted a quick ceremony at someone’s office and we’d have a celebration later). I called Keller’s office and before I could explain this, I got a blithe reply: “Mayor Keller doesn’t perform weddings in July or August”. Click!

      Must be nice to not have to do part of your job 2 months out of the year! Gotta run that idea by my boss…

      • I don’t understand. You’re getting married after 30+ years and “then time was running out?” Did you ever investigate the response you received? Maybe there was a logical explanation.

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