States were placed into one of four categories based on statewide LGBTQ legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies.
Georgia placed in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality,” along with 27 other states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming
Georgia was placed in this category for its handful of bad laws—sodomy laws, HIV/AIDS criminalization school laws that criminalize youth, and transgender exclusion in state Medicaid coverage—and its lack of good laws. Of the 42 LGBTQ-positive laws tracked by the SEI, Georgia only has five: anti-cyberbullying laws, school suicide prevention policies required, transgender inclusion in sports, LGBTQ-inclusive juvenile justice policies, and BRFSS health data collection.
Seventeen states and D.C. ranked in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality:” California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Three states ranked in the second-highest “Solidifying Equality”—Hawaii, Iowa, and New Hampshire—and Utah and Wisconsin placed in the second-lowest “Building Equality” category.
“The State Equality Index highlights how far we have come in the fight for LGBTQ equality in each state,” said Rebecca Isaacs, the Executive Director of the Equality Federation. “For years, we’ve been working with our member organizations to pave the way for nationwide protections by winning state and municipal laws to make discrimination illegal.”
“We have big plans for a future where we can thrive in all the places we call home,” Isaacs continued. “This year, we will work with members on a host of issues, including non-discrimination legislation in places like Virginia and Ohio. Together, we are impacting the lives of millions of LGBTQ Americans. We can, and we will win this fight.”
To view HRC’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every state, visit hrc.org/sei.