28 US states still lack basic equality for LGBT people, State Equality Index says

State Equality Index: Supporters rally on the steps of the State Capitol November 22, 2008 in Sacramento, California.

28 US states are still lacking in basic equality for LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s State Equality Index.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released the annual index on Thursday (January 31) detailing state-level progress on LGBT+ rights.

The rankings show significant progress has been made towards LGBT+ equality at the state level in the past year.

The number of states given the highest rating increased from 13 to 16, thanks to bolstered protections in Delaware, New Jersey and New Mexico.

State Equality Index: Two-thirds of states allow anti-LGBT discrimination

However, a total of 28 states are in the lowest-rated category, found to be lacking “basic equality” for LGBT+ people.

The states rated “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality” are 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.

Two-thirds of states still lack discrimination protections for LGBT+ people, leaving them at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.

State Equality Index: Two-thirds of states have no discrimination protections for LGBT+ people in employment

State Equality Index: Two-thirds of states have no discrimination protections for LGBT+ people in employment (HRC)

The report takes into account a range of policies that impact LGBT+ people and their families, including non-discrimination laws, hate crime laws, parenting laws, and laws to tackle conversion therapy.

LGBT campaigners call for federal Equality Act after State Equality Index

Campaigners say that the finding underlines the need for the US Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would introduce LGBT+ rights protections in all 50 states.

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “LGBTQ people still face the sobering reality that their rights are determined by which side of a state or city line they call home.

“As this year’s State Equality Index makes clear, the time has come for us to do away with this patchwork of state laws and to protect all LGBTQ people by passing the federal Equality Act.”

Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation Institute: “The strength of the state-based LGBTQ movement is critical to elevate our representation, visibility and equality across the country.

“As we look to the next legislative session, the State Equality Index should serve as a recognition of how far we have come and how much we have yet to achieve.”

Griffin added: “HRC and our partners on the ground defeated dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills last year, and worked to pass crucial pro-equality measures that ensure LGBTQ Americans are protected wherever they live.

“Already, we see the promise of even more protections passing in 2019—with action taken in New York, Virginia, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.”