When it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, Jersey City has earned a grade of A+ according to a new study.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, in partnership with The Equality Federation, released its 10th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI) yesterday, which assesses cities on 49 criteria covering citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.
Jersey City scored a 100 along with Montclair and Princeton. In all, twelve cities in New Jersey were included in the study and came in with an average score of 85, 18 above the national average of 67. Hoboken scored a 93. Newark fell below the national average at 61.
“This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year, illustrating the striking advancements municipalities have made over the past 10 years,” said HRC in a press release.
Other significant findings from the 2021 MEI included:
- This year, 181 cities have transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for municipal employees—up from 179 in 2020, despite more rigorous standards this year, and only five at the start of the MEI.
- The national city score average jumped to an all-time high of 67 points, up from 64 last year and 59 in 2012, marking both the fourth consecutive year of national average increases as well as the highest year-over-year national average growth ever.
- As a marker of the change that ten editions of the MEI have brought, cities rated by the MEI in 2012 averaged 59 points then; in 2021, those cities averaged 85 points.
- 11 cities scored 100 points in the 2012 MEI; ten times that number did so in 2021, the tenth edition.
- Cities around the country saw progress, with every region of the country seeing a higher average score than last year.
- 43 municipalities have anti-conversion therapy ordinances in states with no state-level protections, up from 38 last year.
- The tenth edition of the MEI tells a story of sustained, transformational growth in cities of every size in every region of the country. While state legislatures attacked LGBTQ+ people in a historically difficult legislative session, cities focused on solving actual problems.
Said Elizabeth Schedl, Executive Director of Hudson Pride Center, “Jersey City is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ residents and we at Hudson Pride Center are a proud partner of the city. Today we celebrate and congratulate the city of Jersey City on a perfect rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index!”