WASHINGTON — Illinois was in the highest ranking in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) sixth annual State Equality Index released on Thursday.
The report was compiled and released by the HRC and the Equality Federation Institute.
Due to the lack of explicit, comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level, the rights of millions of LGBTQ people and their families vary depending on which state they live in. In 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.
“As LGBTQ people continue to face an onslaught of attacks from the federal administration in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 State Equality Index (SEI) documents how states were instrumental in advancing equality through pro-LGBTQ legislation, policies and proposals,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a press release. “In the absence of federal non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, states must put policies in place to ensure equality for their residents, workers and visitors. In 2020 and beyond, the Human Rights Campaign will continue to work with our partners to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation in the states and secure new protections for our community, both at the state and federal level. Already, we see the promise of even more protections passing state legislatures in 2020, including action taken in Virginia advancing the Virginia Values Act.”
States were put into the following four categories:
- Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California, Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; and Washington
- Three states are in the category “Solidifying Equality”: Hawaii; Iowa; and New Hampshire
- Two states are in the category “Building Equality”: Utah and Wisconsin
- Twenty-Eight states are in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: 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
“The State Equality Index highlights how far we have come in the fight for LGBTQ equality in each state. For years, we’ve been working with our member organizations to pave the way for nationwide protections by winning state and municipal laws that make discrimination illegal. We’re keeping that momentum going. We have big plans for a future where we can thrive in all the places we call home,” said Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of the Equality Federation. “This year, we will work with members on a host of issues, including non-discrimination legislation in places like Virginia and Ohio. Together, we are impacting the lives of millions of LGBTQ Americans. We can, and we will win this fight.”
HRC’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every states, and a preview of the 2020 state legislative session is available online at www.hrc.org/sei.
To see Illinois’s scorecard, click here.