Lawmakers filed more than 200 anti-LGBT bills in US states this year
A report has found that state-level lawmakers are stepping up efforts to pass anti-LGBT legislation on a local level in 2017.
The State Equality Index, released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, reveals the slew of proposed state-level laws that would undermine existing discrimination protections for LGBT people, erode marital rights of legally-married same-sex couples, target transgender people, and limit cities passing their own equal rights ordinances.
Over the past year, more than 200 bills have been filed in state legislatures across the US that would roll back LGBT equality measures or target people for discrimination.
While the vast majority of bills were defeated, some laws rolling back LGBT rights protections did make it onto the statute books in Mississippi and North Carolina – though outrage over the latter led to the ousting of Governor Pat McCrory.
The report warns that a slew of further anti-LGBT laws reminiscent of North Carolina’s HB2 are expected in 2017, with anti-LGBT legislation expected in Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Arkansas.
HRC President Chad Griffin said: “State governments have a clear choice between sowing the seeds of division and discrimination or building an economy that works for everyone by fostering fairness and inclusion.
“Unfortunately, too many lawmakers have decided to target LGBTQ people for state-sanctioned discrimination and to interfere with local protections for workers, customers, and residents.
“Now more than ever, it is crucial that legislators across the country stand on the right side of history and ensure full equality for all their citizens – nothing more and nothing less.”
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The report found that 111 million people live in states where LGBT people are not afforded protections against discrimination in the workplace.
However, some states have seen progress, with Vermont and New York banning gay ‘cure’ therapy, while states including Hawaii, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan and Pennsylvania passed laws to help trans people to transition.
Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation Institute, said: “Last year our community faced a barrage of attacks on our freedoms, but we are more united and better prepared than ever to continue our momentum toward equality for all.
“This report serves as an important tool for advocates to keep pushing forward. We’re not going to stop until all LGBTQ people and their families are able to reach their full potential, free from discrimination, no matter what state they live in.”
The news comes after confirmation that Republicans are planning to revive their federal anti-LGBT legislation in Congress when Donald Trump is President.