Pennsylvania town enacts gay rights law

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 11 2002 11:00 PM ET

New Hope, Pa., on Tuesday night became the first borough in the state to pass a law protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

When the measure was approved 7-0 during the monthly council meeting at New Hope-Solebury High School in Bucks County, approximately 80 people attending broke into applause. It is effective immediately. "We view the passage of this as a celebration," councilwoman Geri Delevich said. "We can now proudly say 'with liberty and justice for all.' "

The law, which generated no public opposition, came after months of advertising and discussion in previous council meetings. Officials said New Hope has never had a problem with gay issues and has become, council members said, a haven for gays. But, council members said, the borough wanted to adopt the law to set standards for other townships and boroughs. Officials from Norristown and Doylestown were in attendance Tuesday night, getting tips for their own potential ordinances.

While such laws are common in larger cities, New Hope is the first "small town" to approve such a law in Pennsylvania, state officials said.