MAPS OF STATE LAWS & POLICIES

  • State Partially Supports
  • State Supports
  • State Does Not Support
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MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND OTHER RELATIONSHIP RECOGNITION LAWS

  • States that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
  • States in which same-sex couples legally married prior to a court stay
  • Historical Category: States that provided comprehensive civil unions or domestic partnerships prior to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples
  • Historical Category: States that provided limited statewide spousal rights prior to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

*States that, in addition to marriage equality, provide either civil unions or domestic partnerships to same-sex couples within the state (9 states and D.C.): California (domestic partnerships), Colorado (civil unions), District of Columbia (domestic partnerships), Hawaii (civil unions), Illinois (civil unions) Maine (limited domestic partnerships), Nevada (domestic partnerships), New Jersey (civil unions), Oregon (domestic partnerships), Washington (limited domestic partnerships) and Wisconsin (domestic partnerships).

 **Missouri recognizes out-of-state marriages.

STATEWIDE MARRIAGE PROHIBITIONS

Statewide Prohibitions against marriage for same-sex couples are in place in most states — either in the form of statutory law or amendment to the state’s constitution. States that explicitly bar same-sex couples from marriage are as follows:

  • States with constitutional amendments restricting marriage to one man and one woman

*Broader Consequences: States where the law or amendment has language that does, or may, affect other legal relationships, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships (12 states): Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas.

**Arkansas:  On May 9, 2014, the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Arkansas ruled that the state's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. Immediately following the ruling, hundreds of same-sex couples got married before the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay temporarily halting the issuance of marriage licenses on May 16, 2014.

STATEWIDE EMPLOYMENT LAWS & POLICIES

The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now accepting complaints of gender identity discrimination in employment based on Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination.

  • States that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only
  • States that prohibit discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States that prohibit discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation only

*State courts, commissions, agencies, or attorney general have interpreted the existing law to include some protection against discrimination against transgender individuals in Florida and New York.

 

STATEWIDE HOUSING LAWS & POLICIES

  • States that prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States that prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation only

Federal Requirements: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires grantees and participants of HUD programs to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD also prohibits inquiries regarding the sexual orientation or gender identity of a prospective tenant or applicant for assisted housing in every state.

STATEWIDE PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS LAWS & POLICIES

Public accommodations refers to both governmental entities and private businesses that provide services to the general public such as restaurants, movie theaters, libraries and shops. It does not encompass private clubs that have a membership or dues process:

  • States that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only

STATE HATE CRIMES

All but five states (Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Wyoming) have laws addressing the scourge of hate crimes, but there is variation in the list of protected classes. The laws that address hate or bias crimes against LGBT people are as follows.

  • States that have a law that addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States that have a law that addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation only

*Laws lacking LGBT inclusion: States that have a law that addresses hate or bias crimes based, but do not address sexual orientation or gender identity (15 states): Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah (no categories listed), Virginia and West Virginia.

**Data Collection Only: Indiana (sexual orientation), Michigan (sexual orientation) and Rhode Island (gender identity).

PARENTING LAWS: JOINT ADOPTION

Each state has its own laws governing adoption and they vary widely. A joint adoption involves a couple adopting a child from the child’s biological parent(s) or adopting a child who is in the custody of the state. In many states it is unclear whether a same-sex couple would be permitted to file a joint petition to adopt. This map provides information on the known laws and policies.

  • States where same-sex couples can jointly petition to adopt statewide
  • States with obstacles to equal treatment

In many states the status of parenting law for LGBT people is unclear. The determination of parenting rights is always made on a case-by-case basis and it is ultimately the decision of the judge whether to grant the adoption petition. If you are considering becoming a parent, you should consult with a lawyer licensed in your state and familiar with LGBT family law.

*On April 7, 2011 the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled the statutory ban prohibiting unmarried couples from adopting to be unconstitutional.

**On September 22, 2010, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled that a 1977 statute prohibiting “homosexuals” from adopting is unconstitutional. The decision is binding on all trial level courts in Florida.

PARENTING LAWS: SECOND PARENT OR STEPPARENT ADOPTION

Each state has its own laws governing adoption and they vary widely. In some states, a person can petition to adopt the child of his or her partner. These are usually called second-parent or stepparent adoptions. This map provides information on the known laws and policies that apply to same-sex couples.

  • States where second-parent adoption is an option for same-sex couples statewide
  • States with obstacles to equal treatment

In many states the status of parenting law for LGBT people is unclear. The determination of parenting rights is always made on a case-by-case basis and it is ultimately the decision of the judge whether to grant the adoption petition. If you are considering becoming a parent, you should consult with a lawyer licensed in your state and familiar with LGBT family law.

*Same-sex couples are prohibited from adopting in Mississippi. State courts in Michigan have ruled that unmarried individuals may not jointly petition to adopt. State courts have ruled that second-parent adoptions are not available under current law in Kentucky, Nebraska, and Ohio.

**On September 22, 2010, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled that a 1977 statute prohibiting “homosexuals” from adopting is unconstitutional. The decision is binding on all trial level courts in Florida.

STATEWIDE SCHOOL ANTI-BULLYING LAWS & POLICIES

Many states explicitly address harassment and/or bullying of elementary and high school students, though not all are LGBT inclusive. These protections can be in the form of statutory law, regulation or ethical codes of conduct for teachers. The states that explicitly address these issues for LGBT students are as follows.

  • States with laws that address harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States without statutory prohibition on bullying
  • States with anti-bullying laws that prevent school districts from specifically protecting LGBT students
  • States with laws that restrict the inclusion of LGBT topics in schools

* Regulations and Ethical Codes of Conduct: States with school regulation or ethical code for teachers that addresses harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation (3 states): New Mexico (regulation), Pennsylvania (regulation) and Utah (code of ethics). States with school regulation or ethical code for teachers that addresses discrimination, harassment and/or bullying of students based on both sexual
orientation and gender identity (2 states): Hawaii (regulation) and West Virginia (regulation).

** Policies/No Categories: States that prohibit bullying in schools but list no categories of protection (25 states): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Please note that the quality of anti-bullying laws varies drastically from state to state. This map is only a reflection of the existence of such laws and policies.

STATEWIDE SCHOOL NON-DISCRIMINATION LAWS & POLICIES

Increasingly, states are explicitly addressing discrimination against LGBT elementary and high school students. These protections can be in the form of statutory law, regulation or ethical codes of conduct for teachers. The states that explicitly
address discrimination against LGBT students are as follows.

  • States with law that addresses discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • States with law that addresses discrimination against students based on sexual orientation only
*Regulations and Ethical Codes of Conduct: States with school regulation or ethical code for teachers that addresses discrimination against students based on sexual orientation (3 states): New Mexico (regulation), Pennsylvania (regulation) and Utah (code of ethics). States with school regulation or ethical code for teachers that addresses discrimination against students based on both sexual orientation and gender identity (1 state): Hawaii (regulation).