More than half of states don’t provide comprehensive legal protections for LGBTQ residents, according to a new report from Safe Home.
The Safe Home research team released state-by-state rankings on Saturday (June 12) detailing the best and worst cities to live from a perspective of LGBTQ safety. The rankings were determined through a compilation of over a dozen sources, including the FBI, UCLA School of Law, and the U.S. Census.
The findings were bleak. 57 percent of states, including Georgia, fell short in providing protections for LGBTQ residents. Only half of the states have laws that include one or more LGBTQ nondiscrimination health care protections for private insurance, and on average, states have more laws in place protecting LGBTQ public employees than private ones; 59 percent have laws protecting employees of the state and local governments on the basis of sexual orientation, while 41 percent protect employees in the private sector.
States with higher populations of LGBTQ residents also had higher than average rates of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, and 22 states’ adoption laws do not explicitly state they allow same-sex couples the right to second-parent adoption.
Nationwide LGBTQ safety rankings were determined through several criteria focused on population, crime, work, marriage and family, and children, including (but not limited to) the following:
Does state law expressly protect employees of state and local governments from discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression?
Does the state offer any other type of relationship recognition for same-sex couples?
Is there a state anti-discrimination law that applies (or may apply) to schools?
Does the state explicitly ban transgender exclusions in health insurance?
States were rated 1 or -1 for each answer, resulting in a possible score range from 100 to -100.
California and Vermont tied for first place with a safety index score of 100 each. By contrast, North Dakota scored most poorly in the nation with a safety index score of -71. On average, states with higher populations of LGBTQ residents performed better, with one exception: Georgia, which was #48 in the ranking with a score of -58. Georgia has no measured protections in place through state law for public accommodations, anti-discrimination in health care, or employment protection from discrimination.