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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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Snapshot: LGBT Equality by State

Click on any state to view its detailed policy tally.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • High Overall Policy Tally (14 states + D.C.)
  • Medium Overall Policy Tally (8 states)
  • Low Overall Policy Tally (23 states)
  • Negative Overall Policy Tally (5 states)

NOTE:This map shows the overall equality tallies for each state and the District of Columbia. A state’s “policy tally” counts the number of positive laws and policies within the state that help drive equality for LGBT people. The major categories of laws covered by the policy tally include: Marriage and Relationship Recognition, Adoption and Parenting, Non-Discrimination, Safe Schools, Health and Safety, and Ability for Transgender People to Correct the Name and Gender Marker on Identity Documents.

Sexual Orientation Tally Gender Identity Tally Total Tally
High 11 to 19 8 to 15 19 to 34
Medium 4 to 10.99 3 to 7.99 7 to 18.99
Low 0 to 3.99 0 to 2.99 0 to 6.99
Negative -5 to -0.01 -5 to -0.01 -10 to -0.01

Note that the tallies look only at existing laws—they do not look at the social climate, nor do they take into account implementation of each state’s laws. The tally also does not reflect the efforts of advocates and/or opportunities for future change. States with low tallies might shift rapidly with an influx of resources, whereas those states with high tallies might continue to expand equality for LGBT people in ways that can provide models for other states.


Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

44%

44 % of the LGBT population lives in states with high overall policy tallies

9%

9 % of LGBT population lives in states with medium overall policy tallies

43%

43 % of LGBT population lives in states with low overall policy tallies

4%

4 % of LGBT population lives in states with negative overall policy tallies

Click on any state to view its detailed policy tally.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • High Sexual Orientation Policy Tally (16 states + D.C.)
  • Medium Sexual Orientation Policy Tally (8 states)
  • Low Sexual Orientation Policy Tally (26 states)
  • Negative Sexual Orientation Policy Tally (0 states)

NOTE: This tally includes laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation. The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation Tally
High 11 to 19
Medium 4 to 10.99
Low 0 to 3.99
Negative -5 to -0.01


Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

47%

47 % of the LGBT population lives in states with high sexual orientation policy tallies

20%

20 % of LGBT population lives in states with medium sexual orientation policy tallies

33%

33 % of LGBT population lives in states with low sexual orientation policy tallies

0%

0 % of LGBT population lives in states with negative sexual orientation policy tallies

Click on any state to view its detailed policy tally.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • High Gender Identity Policy Tally (15 states + D.C.)
  • Medium Gender Identity Policy Tally (4 states)
  • Low Gender Identity Policy Tally (11 states)
  • Negative Gender Identity Policy Tally (20 states)

NOTE: This tally includes laws that explicitly mention gender identity or gender identity and expression. “Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

Gender Identity Tally
High 8 to 15
Medium 3 to 7.99
Low 0 to 2.99
Negative -5 to -0.01


Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

44%

44 % of the LGBT population lives in states with high gender identity policy tallies

6%

6 % of LGBT population lives in states with medium gender identity policy tallies

16%

16 % of LGBT population lives in states with low gender identity policy tallies

35%

35 % of LGBT population lives in states with negative gender identity policy tallies

 State     
Marriage
Recognition
Relationship and
Parental Recognition
Non–Discrimination
Religious Exemption Laws
LGBT Youth
Health
and
Safety
Identity
Documents
1 Alabama SO 1/1 1/7 0/4.5 -0.75/-1.25 -0.5/3.5 -0.5/3 -- 0.25 -2.75 -2.50
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.75/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 -0.5/5 -1/3
2 Mississippi SO 1/1 1.5/7 0/4.5 -1.25/-1.25 -0.25/3.5 -0.5/3 -- 0.50 -0.50 0.00
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.75/-0.75 -0.25/3.5 -1/5 1.5/3
3 South Dakota SO 1/1 1/7 0/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 -0.25/3.5 -0.5/3 -- 1.00 -1.50 -0.50
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 -0.25/3.5 -0.5/5 -0.5/3
4 South Carolina SO 1/1 1.5/7 0/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 -0.5/3.5 -0.5/3 -- 1.25 -1.25 0.00
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 -0.5/5 0/3
5 North Dakota SO 1/1 1/7 0/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0/3 -- 2.00 -2.25 -0.25
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0/3.5 -1/5 -1/3
6 Virginia SO 1/1 1/7 0.5/4.5 -0.5/-1.25 0/3.5 0/3 -- 2.00 0.50 2.50
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 -0.5/-0.75 0/3.5 -0.5/5 1/3
7 Arkansas SO 1/1 1/7 -0.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 1/3.5 0/3 -- 2.25 -1.75 0.50
GI -- 0/2 -0.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 1/3.5 -1/5 -1/3
8 Tennessee SO 1/1 1.5/7 -0.5/4.5 -0.5/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0.5/3 -- 2.25 -3.75 -1.50
GI -- 0/2 -0.5/4.5 -0.5/-0.75 0.25/3.5 -2/5 -1/3
9 Georgia SO 1/1 1/7 0/4.5 0/-1.25 0.5/3.5 0/3 -- 2.50 -4.00 -1.50
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -1/5 -3/3
10 Oklahoma SO 1/1 2.5/7 0/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 -0.5/3.5 0/3 -- 2.75 -2.25 0.50
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 -0.5/5 -1/3
11 Wyoming SO 1/1 1/7 0/4.5 0/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0.5/3 -- 2.75 -2.50 0.25
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -1/5 -1.5/3
12 Louisiana SO 1/1 1/7 0/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 -0.25/3.5 1.5/3 -- 3.00 -2.25 0.75
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 -0.5/5 -1/3
13 Michigan SO 1/1 1/7 0.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0.5/3 -- 3.00 1.00 4.00
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0.25/3.5 1/5 -0.5/3
14 Nebraska SO 1/1 1.5/7 0/4.5 0/-1.25 0/3.5 0.5/3 -- 3.00 -3.50 -0.50
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -2/5 -1.5/3
15 Alaska SO 1/1 1/7 1.25/4.5 0/-1.25 0/3.5 0/3 -- 3.25 1.25 4.50
GI -- 0/2 0.75/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -1/5 1.5/3
16 Idaho SO 1/1 1.5/7 0.75/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0/3 -- 3.25 -1.25 2.00
GI -- 0/2 0.75/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0.25/3.5 -0.5/5 -1.5/3
17 Montana SO 1/1 2/7 0.5/4.5 0/-1.25 0.25/3.5 -0.5/3 -- 3.25 -0.50 2.75
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 1/5 -2/3
18 Ohio SO 1/1 1.5/7 0.5/4.5 0/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0/3 -- 3.25 -0.50 2.75
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -0.5/5 -0.5/3
19 Missouri SO 1/1 1/7 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 -0.25/3.5 1/3 -- 3.75 0.00 3.75
GI -- 0/2 0.75/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 0/5 0/3
20 Texas SO 1/1 1.5/7 0.5/4.5 -0.5/-1.25 -0.5/3.5 1.75/3 -- 3.75 -0.25 3.50
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 -0.5/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 0.25/5 0/3
21 Kansas SO 1/1 2/7 0.5/4.5 -0.5/-1.25 0/3.5 1/3 -- 4.00 -0.25 3.75
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0/3.5 0/5 -0.5/3
22 West Virginia SO 1/1 1.5/7 0/4.5 0/-1.25 1/3.5 0.5/3 -- 4.00 -1.50 2.50
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -1.5/5 0/3
23 North Carolina SO 1/1 1.5/7 0.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 1/3.5 0.5/3 -- 4.25 0.00 4.25
GI -- 0/2 0.5/4.5 0/-0.75 1/3.5 0.5/5 -2/3
24 Arizona SO 1/1 1.5/7 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 -0.5/3.5 1.75/3 -- 4.75 -1.75 3.00
GI -- 0/2 0.75/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 -0.5/3.5 -1.25/5 -0.5/3
25 Florida SO 1/1 1/7 1.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 0.5/3.5 1/3 -- 4.75 1.00 5.75
GI -- 0/2 1.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0.25/3.5 -1/5 0.5/3
26 Indiana SO 1/1 2/7 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 0.25/3.5 0.5/3 -- 4.75 1.75 6.50
GI -- 0/2 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0.25/3.5 0.5/5 0/3
27 Kentucky SO 1/1 2/7 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 0/3.5 1.5/3 -- 5.50 0.50 6.00
GI -- 0/2 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0/3.5 0.5/5 -1/3
28 Utah SO 1/1 1/7 2.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 1.25/3.5 0/3 -- 5.50 3.75 9.25
GI -- 0/2 2.5/4.5 0/-0.75 0.25/3.5 0/5 1/3
29 Pennsylvania SO 1/1 2/7 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 1.25/3.5 0.5/3 -- 5.75 5.50 11.25
GI -- 0/2 1.25/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 0/3.5 2.5/5 2/3
30 New Hampshire SO 1/1 1/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 1.25/3.5 0.75/3 -- 7.50 1.75 9.25
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 0/-0.75 1/3.5 -0.75/5 1.5/3
31 Delaware SO 1/1 2/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 0.75/3.5 2.5/3 -- 9.75 8.50 18.25
GI -- 0/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 0.5/3.5 3.5/5 1/3
32 Iowa SO 1/1 1/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.25/3.5 1/3 -- 9.75 3.75 13.50
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 -1/5 -2/3
33 Hawaii SO 1/1 2/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 1.25/3.5 3/3 -- 10.75 9.75 20.50
GI -- 0/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 1.25/3.5 3/5 2/3
34 Wisconsin SO 1/1 4/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 1.25/3.5 1/3 -- 10.75 -2.00 8.75
GI -- 0/2 0/4.5 0/-0.75 0/3.5 -1.5/5 -0.5/3
35 New Mexico SO 1/1 2.5/7 4.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 2.5/3.5 1.5/3 -- 11.75 6.50 18.25
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 1.25/3.5 1/5 0/3
36 Minnesota SO 1/1 2/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.5/3.5 2/3 -- 12.00 10.75 22.75
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 2.5/5 1.5/3
37 Nevada SO 1/1 2.5/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.5/3.5 2.5/3 -- 12.00 10.00 22.00
GI -- 0/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.5/3.5 2.5/5 1.5/3
38 Illinois SO 1/1 1.5/7 4.5/4.5 -0.5/-1.25 3.5/3.5 2.5/3 -- 12.50 13.00 25.50
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 -0.5/-0.75 3.5/3.5 4/5 1.5/3
39 Maryland SO 1/1 4.5/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 1.25/3.5 1.5/3 -- 12.75 10.50 23.25
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 1/3.5 3.5/5 1.5/3
40 Colorado SO 1/1 3/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.25/3.5 2.5/3 -- 13.25 10.25 23.50
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 4/5 -0.5/3
41 Washington SO 1/1 3.5/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.25/3.5 2/3 -- 13.25 14.25 27.50
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 4.5/5 3/3
42 Connecticut SO 1/1 3.5/7 4.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 3.25/3.5 1.75/3 -- 13.75 14.25 28.00
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 3.25/3.5 3.75/5 3/3
43 Maine SO 1/1 4/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.25/3.5 2/3 -- 13.75 6.25 20.00
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 -0.5/5 0/3
44 Vermont SO 1/1 2.5/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 3.25/3.5 2.5/3 -- 13.75 13.75 27.50
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 3.25/3.5 4/5 2/3
45 Massachusetts SO 1/1 5/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.25/3.5 1.75/3 -- 14.50 12.50 27.00
GI -- 0/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 3.75/5 2/3
46 Oregon SO 1/1 4.5/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 3.25/3.5 2.25/3 -- 14.50 14.25 28.75
GI -- 0/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 3/3.5 4.75/5 3/3
47 New Jersey SO 1/1 5.5/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 3.25/3.5 1.5/3 -- 15.75 11.75 27.50
GI -- 2/2 4.5/4.5 0/-0.75 3.25/3.5 3/5 -1/3
48 Rhode Island SO 1/1 5/7 4.5/4.5 -0.25/-1.25 2.5/3.5 3/3 -- 15.75 14.50 30.25
GI -- 2/2 4.5/4.5 -0.25/-0.75 2.25/3.5 5/5 1/3
49 California SO 1/1 5.5/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 3.5/3.5 2.5/3 -- 16.00 16.50 32.50
GI -- 2/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 3.5/3.5 4.5/5 3/3
50 New York SO 1/1 5.5/7 4.5/4.5 0/-1.25 2.5/3.5 2.5/3 -- 16.00 10.25 26.25
GI -- 0/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 2.25/3.5 3/5 1.5/3
51 District of Columbia SO 1/1 6.5/7 3.5/4.5 0/-1.25 3.25/3.5 3/3 -- 17.25 16.75 34.00
GI -- 2/2 3.5/4.5 0/-0.75 3.25/3.5 5/5 3/3
Data current as of 10/16/2017
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