The Five Worst States for LBGT Families

June 23rd 2017

Ethan Simon

Even in the face of recent, positive, developments like marriage equality, and adoption rights for same-sex couples, being LGBT in America is still fraught with challenges. From an increased likelihood of being a victim of a hate crime to larger suicide rates on the whole, there is still much progress to be made.

In addition to these obstacles, legally enshrined discrimination still exists around the country. And while anti-gay laws in repressive states affect all LGBT folks, there are laws that affect LGBT families more than individuals. 

The five worst states for LGBT famillies:

North Carolina:



The home of the infamous bathroom law is also one of 28 states that doesn't protect LGBT Americans from workplace discrimination. That means that you can be legally fired for being gay. And if that wasn't enough, North Carolina shares the distinction of being one of three states—along with Arkansas and Tennessee—that actually outlawed local anti-discrimination laws. That means if the city of Durham wants to take it upon themselves to protect their LGBT neighbors from workplace discrimination, they can't. Given that a steady job is absolutely integral to starting a family, North Carolina (as well as Arkansas and Tennessee) have all earned spots on this list.


Arkansas State Capitol

As mentioned, Arkansas has a similar law to North Carolina's—and they're actually enforcing it, recently striking down a local anti-discrimination law passed in Fayetteville. Arkansas also has no protections on housing which means that applicants for public housing can be denied based on their sexual orientation, though HUD guidelines do note that the state cannot explicitly ask. 

Finally, if you want to assure that your family is given the full protection of the law against hate crimes, you might want to avoid Arkansas. Arkansas is one of just four states—along with SC, IN, and WY—that have no law protecting LGBT folks from hate crimes.


Nashville Record Shop

The Volunteer State is also one of the states that outlawed anti-discrimination laws—putting it squarely in the top five for that reason alone. But combine that with a religious exemption law allowing people, churches or sometimes corporations to seek exemptions for existing laws based on their religious beliefs, and you've got a potentially treacherous home for LGBT families. 


Remember when the Supreme Court said that states had to allow same-sex couples to marry nationwide? Kansas decided to put a little asterisk on that. They're one of two states—yup, North Carolina again—that allows for a caveat there. Kansas permits faith-based organizations to deny services to same-sex couples. So while the state did legally have to allow LGBT couples to marry, they're not doing everything they can to protect that right. Their record on other issues isn't great either, earning them a 4 out of 38.5 score from LGBTmap.org. 




The case for Georgia making this list is less straightforward. While they're not a stand-out denier of rights for LGBT families, they have one of the most across-the-board bad records of any state. LGBTmap.org rates Georgia as having a -0.5 out of 38.5 on LGBT policy—yes, that's a negative number. Furthermore, Georgia's Medicaid policy actually explicitly excludes transgender-related care. And it is one of 36 states that has no anti-discrimination protections for credit and lending. So you could be denied a loan to start a business or buy a home, just for being yourself.