A new survey ranked the states on LGBTQ-inclusive business climates, with Georgia ranking low nationally but relatively high regionally.
The LGBT+ Business Climate Index ranked the states on a number of measures, including legal and nondiscrimination measures, political and religious attitudes, health access and safety, work environment and employment, and youth and family support.
The index found that Massachusetts ranked the highest nationwide with a score of 90, followed by California (89.67) and Connecticut (87.53). Georgia received a 45.33, placing in 38th.
The three lowest-ranking states nationally were South Dakota (34.53), South Carolina (32.90), and Mississippi (31.17).
Among the Southeast region, Georgia ranked fourth, after North Carolina (51.2), Florida (53.2), and Virginia (60.73). However, the Southeast region was the lowest-ranking region in the country, with an average rating of about 43. The highest-ranking region was the Northeast, with a score of about 81.
Out Leadership, the sponsor of the survey, wrote about the negative economic effects low-rated countries could see because of their lack of support – or blatant attack – of the LGBTQ community.
“Societal marginalization of LGBT+ people – which can often be subtle and hard to measure – has real and serious economic costs,” the report reads. “Major legislative efforts extend further legal discrimination, such [as] the Religious Freedom Restoration (RFRA) law… and North Carolina’s passage of the HB2 “Bathroom Bill,” damaged those states’ reputation for being business-friendly and harmed tourism, resulting in significant economic losses.”
On the flip side, those more LGBTQ-friendly reaped the rewards.
“Research demonstrates that companies where LGBT+ people are supported enjoy increased profitability and stock prices as well as increased employee productivity,” the reports adds. “Our index suggests that a similar relationship exists on a state policy level, and that states that aim to make LGBT+ people more welcome and included legally and culturally will experience significant rewards for doing so, particularly in terms of residents’ well-being and productivity.”