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Want to serve on the Cheltenham Township Human Relations Commission? Here's how...

Cheltenham passed on Wednesday night an ordinance creating a human relations commission, a vehicle to combat discrimination and promote equality before the law.

Now the township is seeking residents interested in serving on the commission. The ordinance is available here. There are nine positions which will ultimately have three-year staggered terms. Only registered voters are eligible. The application deadline is 4:30 p.m. on March 30, 2012.

Resumes will be accepted in writing by post, hand-delivery or email to the Cheltenham Township Manager, 8230 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027, or For more information, contact the Cheltenham Township Public Information Office at 215-887-6200, ext. 230.

(From Citizens' Call)


Tonight Cheltenham Township became the 27th locality in Pennsylvania to pass a Human Relations Commission ordinance.  CARE thanks the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners, especially Commissioner Kathy Hampton who tirelessly championed the ordinance, the Township solicitor and manager, Equality PA and its leaders Adrian Shanker and Ted Martin, Steve Glassman from the PA Human Relations Commission, and all of the wonderful Cheltenham residents and organizations, including the NAACP, League of Women Voters, United Church of Christ, Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, PFLAG and the Cheltenham Democrats, who loudly and consistently demanded a community free from intolerance and discrimination.
Congratulations to all!

This is the big one -- We need you for the FINAL VOTE on the Cheltenham Township Human Relations Commission ordinance on Feb 15!

The Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners has scheduled a final vote on an anti-discrimination ordinance for Wednesday, Feb 15 at 7:30pm at Curtis Hall and we need YOU to get it passed.

We're expecting those opposed to equal rights to make their stand at this meeting, especially zealots from outside the Township. It's crucial that we have a large turnout of supporters from our own community! Also, at the last Public Affairs meeting, one commissioner tried to sneak a provision into the law that would have allowed religious, private and fraternal organizations to discriminate at public functions and in public accommodations like parks, libraries, restaurants, etc. We need YOU to come out to show our commissioners that we demand a fair law that protects all of our residents.
If you believe in justice for all in Cheltenham Township, February 15th is your chance to show your support.

Action Alert -- Public Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 1st, at 7:30 pm at Curtis Hall

Dear supporter of equality and justice in Cheltenham Township,
The Cheltenham Township Human Relations Commission ordinance will be on the agenda of the Public Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 1st, at 7:30 pm at Curtis Hall. I hope you can attend. At the January meeting, the commissioners made significant progress toward adopting a meaningful ordinance. This could be the last drafting meetin before the ordinance comes before the full board for a vote.
To see the minutes of the December meeting, visit
Thank you for your continued support,
Cheltenham Area Residents for Equality (CARE)

CARE's comments to the October 5, 2011 Cheltenham Township Public Affairs Committee

Good evening.  On September 21st, the Board of Commissioners heard from a room full of residents speaking in support of a Cheltenham Township Human Relations Commission. In addition to a diverse and passionate assembly of individuals, the Board also heard from organizational supporters including the Cheltenham Township chapter of the NAACP and the Cheltenham Township chapter of the League of Women Voters.  In addition, clergy spoke on behalf of congregants from Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel and the United Church of Christ.

On behalf of Cheltenham Area Residents for Equality (CARE), I would again like to thank the Board for your attention to our concerns and commitment to protecting the basic civil rights of Cheltenham residents.  Now the important work begins.  The Public Affairs Committee was charged with creating an ordinance that will meet the needs of the Cheltenham Township community.

After reviewing a number of ordinances already passed in jurisdictions across Pennsylvania, and consulting with attorney Ted Martin from Equality Pennsylvania and Stephen Glassman from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, CARE wholeheartedly recommends that the Board follow the model of the Human Relations Commission ordinance passed in Lower Merion Township.  The Lower Merion model, like other ordinances, begins by affording lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals the same basic civil rights that others possess.   It also establishes a Human Relations Commission to protect those rights locally in a manner consistent with State law.  In Lower Merion, anyone in a protected class who experiences discrimination can bring a claim to the local volunteer Human Relations Commission for mediation.  If mediation doesn’t resolve the issue, the Human Relations Commission will refer the claim to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for further review, unless the claimant is not protected by State law.  In such cases, the local Human Relations Commission will conciliate the claim or hold a public hearing to decide if relief is appropriate.

The Lower Merion model represents a middle ground between ordinances such as those in Doylestown Borough and Springfield Township.  In Doylestown Borough, the local Human Relations Commission has more authority than in Lower Merion; it can mediate, conciliate and hold public hearings on claims brought by any protected individual, even those already protected by State law.  In contrast, ordinances like the one in Springfield force individuals not protected by State law to seek relief directly from the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas if their claims that are not resolved through mediation.  These individuals are not afforded the same full review by a Human Relations Commission as other individuals.  We believe that the Lower Merion ordinance would work best in Cheltenham Township because its Human Relations Commission retains jurisdiction of only as many cases as is necessary to provide equal access to justice to all victims of discrimination.

I would like to submit copies of a proposed Cheltenham Township Human Relations Commission ordinance based on the Lower Merion model.  Both Ted Martin and Stephen Glassman have offered to assist the Board as you move forward with this important wok.  I can provide their contact information.  Cheltenham Area Residents for Equality is also eager to work with the Public Affairs Committee on this initiative.

Thanks again for your time and effort to continue to make Cheltenham Township a welcoming, inclusive community.