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Illinois ranks high in HRC’s latest State Equality Index

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign released the 2019 State Equality Index on Thursday and Illinois was in the top category for LGBTQ equality.

Illinois, along with 15 other states and the District of Columbia, were ranked as “Working Toward Innovative Equality.” According to the HRC, these states have a broad range of protections to ensure equality for LGBTQ people, including comprehensive non-discrimination laws, safe schools laws, and healthcare access for transgender people. Advocates focus on the implementation of laws and advance innovative legislation that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations.

The only other Midwestern state in the category was Minnesota. More than half of U.S. states, 28, were in the lowest category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.”

The SEI also detailed the more than 100 anti-LGBTQ laws introduced across 29 states during the 2018 state legislative season, including proposals to grant sweeping licenses to discriminate, undercut marriage equality and target the transgender community — including transgender children.

Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation Institute, said, “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.”

A recent PRRI survey found that 71 percent of Americans support LGBTQ non-discrimination laws. An estimated 8 million LGBTQ Americans, their friends and families remain at risk of discrimination if they live in one of the 30 states without adequate protections. A map of this patchwork of laws can be found here.

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