WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – West Virginia falls into the lowest category for how well the state protects LGBTQ rights, according to a recent report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
The HRC Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 5th annual State Equality Index detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, and assessing how well states protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
West Virginia is among the 28 states in the lowest category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.” Other states in that category include Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.
“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,” says HRC President Alphonso David. “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.”
Due to the lack of explicit, comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level, the rights 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. Meanwhile, top-rated states and Washington, D.C. have robust non-discrimination laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. are described as “Working Toward Innovative Equality.” Those states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Read more about the report here.