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Hate Crime Laws

Hate crime laws require law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes committed with bias against LGBT people. Some state laws require collection of data on anti-LGBT hate crimes.

United States Map
Law covers sexual orientation and gender identity (17 states + D.C.)
Law covers only sexual orientation (13 states)
Existing hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity (16 states)
No hate crime law (4 states)
NOTE: Hate crime laws are designed to deter bias-motivated crimes, however there is no consensus around the efficacy of these laws in preventing hate crimes against LGBT people. In fact, some advocates believe hate crime laws may be counterproductive to that goal. Research suggests that the enforcement of hate crime laws disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, particularly communities of color. Read more about how criminalization impacts people of color here.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a federal law that amended federal hate crime law to include gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Several states have hate crime laws that require data collection for sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, but do not impose additional penalties: Indiana (sexual orientation), Michigan (sexual orientation) and Rhode Island (gender identity or expression). For additional information, contact the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, or the Equality Federation.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

40% of LGBT population lives in states that have hate crime laws covering sexual orientation and gender identity 72% of LGBT population lives in states that have hate crime laws covering sexual orientation 24% of LGBT population lives in states with laws that do not cover sexual orientation or gender identity 4% of LGBT population lives in states with no hate crime laws
Law covers sexual orientation

Law covers sexual orientation and gender identity/expression

State Hate Crime Law Year Passed
Arizona 2003
California 1999
Colorado 2005
Connecticut 2004
Delaware 2001/2013
District of Columbia 1989
Florida 2001
Hawaii 2003
Illinois 2001/2016
Iowa 2002
Kansas 2002
Kentucky 2001
Louisiana 2002
Maine 2001
Maryland 2005
Massachusetts 2002 (Sexual Orientation); 2011 (Gender Identity/Expression)
Minnesota 1993
Missouri 1999
Nebraska 2002
Nevada 2001 (Sexual Orientation); 2013 (Gender Identity/Expression)
New Hampshire 2002
New Jersey 2002 (Sexual Orientation); 2008 (Gender Identity/Expression)
New Mexico 2003
New York 2002
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oregon 2001 (Sexual Orientation); 2008 (Gender Identity/Expression)
Rhode Island 2001/2012
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee 2001
Texas 2002
Vermont 2001
Washington 1993 (Sexual Orientation); 2009 (Gender Identity/Expression)
West Virginia
Wisconsin 2002

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Data current as of 05/22/2017