For the second year in a row, the City of Hoboken received a score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index (MEI), an annual examination of more than 500 municipalities relating to LGBTQ+ laws and policies. Hoboken is one of only three municipalities in the State of New Jersey to achieve this distinction.
“Our 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign once again demonstrates that Hoboken is a fair and welcoming City where everyone is entitled to be treated equally and with respect, no matter your gender identity or means of expression,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “We’ve taken a number of steps to further empower the members of our LGBTQ+ communities over the past two years, and I’m proud Hoboken is only one of three municipalities in New Jersey to achieve this distinction. I thank the many activists and advocates, past and present who have strived for equal rights for all residents in our City.”
"We at Hudson Pride Center are proud that the city of Hoboken received a perfect score again this year on the Municipal Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign! Mayor Bhalla and the city of Hoboken have worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and safe city that protects its LGBTQ+ residents and visitors. Hudson Pride Center will continue to assist the city of Hoboken with its efforts in supporting and advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community in Hoboken, and we will do our best to help them remain leaders in NJ in advancing equal rights and protections in municipal law, policy and services for the LGBTQ+ community," said Elizabeth Schedl, Chief Operating Officer for Hudson Pride Center.
"There is much work to be done in the days ahead, but let’s pause for a moment to give thanks to all who have made a difference and have accepted our LGBTQ community with open arms. And thanks to all those who have helped the City of Hoboken weave a more compassionate, inclusive and diverse community for us to live...Tolerance has no boundaries and spirit has no gender. Love is Love," said Laura Knittel, the City of Hoboken's LGBTQ+ liaison.
Over the past two years, Mayor Bhalla and the City have undertaken a number of projects and initiatives on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community that were highlighted by the HRC in their 100% rating, including:
Gender neutral bathroom ordinance: In 2018, Mayor Bhalla signed an executive order requiring all public and private single-occupancy restrooms to be gender neutral. Hoboken became the first City in New Jersey to pass such a law.
Non-discrimination executive order for contractors: Mayor Bhalla also signed an executive order preventing discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups.
LGBTQ+ community liaison: Hoboken resident and LGBTQ+ activist Laura Knittel was selected by Mayor Bhalla and the City last year to serve in the role as Hoboken’s first ever LGBTQ+ liaison.
Hoboken Pride Week: The Hudson Pride Center, Laura Knittel and Migdalia Pagan-Milano from Hoboken’s Office of Constituent Services established and organized Hoboken’s second annual Pride Week celebration in August, which originated in 2018.
In addition to raising the Pride Flag, Hoboken became only one of a select few communities in New Jersey to have painted rainbow crosswalks for Pride Month this past June. This week, Hoboken raised the Transgender Pride Flag in recognition of Transgender Awareness Week.