Some state legislative sessions have already drawn to a close, but other state legislatures will be in session for several more weeks or even months. So far this year 34 anti-LGBT bills in nine states have been defeated or failed to meet key legislative deadlines, but two have passed — one in Arkansas and one in Indiana.
Among the recently introduced anti-LGBT legislation is a pair of bills in Nevada that would allow individuals and businesses to use religion to challenge or opt out of laws, including laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Similar legislation was also recently introduced in Montana and is still pending in Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, and elsewhere.
This maps depicts where the anti-gay sentiment, hatred and segregation are coming from and shows no sign of stopping.
Bills that would allow adoption agencies to use religion to discriminate against eligible parents and guardians have been newly introduced in Alabama and Florida. These new bills are similar to a series of bills moving through the Michigan legislature.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, HRC, the states considering “religious refusal” are:
Western: Hawaii, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado
Midwest: South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan
South: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama
East Coast: Maine, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
Even in states with long traditions of support for equality, anti-equality lawmakers are introducing anti-LGBT bills. Massachusetts, for example, is the latest state with a bill that would criminalize transgender people for using appropriate restrooms. Anti-transgender “bathroom surveillance” bills have are now pending in Florida, Texas and a handful of other states.
Collectively, this rising storm of anti-LGBT legislation underlines an increased effort to deprive LGBT Americans and other minority groups of basic protections. Across the country, HRC is joining state-based LGBT equality organizations and other allies to stanch the tide.
Learn more about the current landscape of anti-LGBT legislation here.