12 towns in NJ rated by HRC Municipal Equality Index

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Municipal Equality Index map 2021
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation Municipal Equality Index map 2021

In its 10th year the MEI shows a record-setting number of perfect scores

The average score for cities in New Jersey is 85 out of 100 points in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The Garden State scores average 15 points above the national average of 67. And three New Jersey cities earned a perfect score of 100.

New Jersey details are here.

This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100 nationwide, which is up from only 11 back in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year. HRC says this illustrates the striking advancements municipalities have made over the past deacade.

“LGBTQ+ people are everywhere—in every city, county and ZIP code. Throughout its 10-year history, the Municipal Equality Index has been centered on supporting and celebrating the work municipalities do to serve LGBTQ+ people in the places they call home,” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “This year, state-wide lawmakers have zeroed in on attacking transgender and non-binary children—for no reason other than in an effort to harm and erase them. Local leaders, however, have continued to move the needle of progress forward, and by doing so, they have spurred economic growth by signaling to residents, visitors and employers that their city is open to everyone.”

The HRC Foundation in partnership with The Equality Federation, released the 10th annual Municipal Equality Index late last year. It is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ equality regarding municipal policies, laws and services in 506 cities across the nation, including 12 in New Jersey.

“As the largest LGBTQIA rights organization in the Garden State, we are proud of the progress we have made at both the state and local levels,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “We are fortunate enough to have elected twice a true ally in Governor Murphy. While we are seeing some disturbing trends based on misinformation and anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda, we remain committed to electing out candidates and candidates who stand firmly with our community.

“Garden State Equality understands the importance of having inclusive communities and, often times, that starts with the leaders of these municipalities,” said Fuscarino. “With marriage equality, workplace and housing protections, an inclusive core curriculum, and much more, we are proud of the work we have accomplished and remain committed to make New Jersey the most inclusive and welcoming state in the country.”

The MEI report also contains an issue brief for policymakers that covers how municipalities can support transgender and non-binary individuals, as well as the types of challenges they face. The report details many ways that a city can support the LGBTQ community.

“For 10 incredible years, the MEI has helped guide, shape and inspire more inclusive laws and policies in cities of all sizes in all parts of the country,” said Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and Founding Author of the Municipal Equality Index. “This program is one of the key-ways HRC is able to impact the daily lives of our members, supporters and allies. Being able to personally witness these communities continue to push themselves to better serve their LGBTQ+ communities over the years has been one of my greatest joys. I am incredibly proud of this project and of the MEI team who have made this report a vehicle of enduring change and of our partners in communities around the country who have enthusiastically embraced its possibilities.”

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the U.S., the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, the 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 49 criteria covering citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ equality.

New Jersey MEI ratings listed alphabetically

  • Asbury Park 84
  • Elizabeth 71
  • Hoboken 93
  • Jersey City 100
  • Lambertville 98
  • Montclair 100
  • New Brunswick 67
  • Newark 61
  • Ocean Grove (Neptune) 89
  • Paterson 62
  • Princeton 100
  • Trenton 95

New Jersey details are here.