LGBT Equality Index in the United States

The most LGBT-Friendly US States.

The Equality Index measures the current status of LGBT rights, laws, and freedoms as well as public attitudes towards LGBT people.
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Equality Index ?
0 (Less Equal)
100 (More Equal)

Largest Disparities

Regions where legal progress and public views don't align. Comparing the legal rights and the public opinion highlights regions where the public's support has advanced past (or fallen behind) legal progress. These may be potential areas for advocacy and change. (Countries without public opinion data are excluded.)

Legal Progress Ahead of Public Opinion

State and TerritoryLegal IndexPublic Opinion IndexDifference
1. Nevada100 / 10059 / 100-41
2. Hawaii10062-38
3. Michigan10062-38
4. Illinois10063-37
5. Minnesota10063-37
6. Oregon10063-37
7. Colorado10063-37
8. New Mexico10063-37
9. Utah9761-36
10. Maryland10064-36

United States Equality Index

Which states are the most LGBT-friendly?

The Legal Index scores the legal rights and freedoms LGBTQ+ people have while the Public Opinion Index scores how the general public feels in each region.

State and TerritoryEquality IndexLegal IndexPublic Opinion Index
1. Vermont86 / 100100 / 10072 / 100
2. Massachusetts8610072
3. New Hampshire8610071
4. Rhode Island8510071
5. Connecticut8510070
6. Washington, D.C.8410068
7. New York8310067
8. California8310066
9. New Jersey8310066
10. Maine8310066
11. Washington8310066
12. Maryland8210064
13. New Mexico8110063
14. Colorado8110063
15. Oregon8110063
16. Minnesota8110063
17. Illinois8110063
18. Michigan8110062
19. Hawaii8110062
20. Puerto Rico809368
21. Pennsylvania809862
22. Delaware809367
23. Nevada8010059
24. Utah799761
25. Virginia779361
26. Ohio758862
27. Idaho738660
28. Wisconsin728262
29. Montana728361
30. Arizona718261
31. Alaska708060
32. South Dakota698058
33. North Carolina698157
34. Iowa697761
35. Kansas687859
36. Indiana688056
37. North Dakota687759
38. West Virginia678154
39. Nebraska677757
40. Missouri667457
41. Kentucky657754
42. Arkansas657950
43. Wyoming657455
44. Georgia657158
45. South Carolina647453
46. Florida646662
47. Mississippi627351
48. Louisiana616755
49. Texas616755
50. Alabama607050
51. Oklahoma586353
52. Tennessee576351

Equality Index Methodology

Equaldex's Equality Index is a rating from 0 to 100 (with 100 being the most equal) to help visualize the legal rights and public attitudes towards LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex...) people in each region. The Equality Index is an average of two indexes: the legal index and the public opinion Index.

Equality Index

Average of Legal Index and Public Opinion Index

Legal Index

The LGBT legal index measures the current legal status of 13 different issues ranging from the legal status of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, LGBT discrimination protections, LGBT censorship laws, and more. Each topic is weighted differently (for example, if same-sex marriage is illegal in a region, it would have a much bigger impact on the score than not allowing LGBT people to serve in the military). Each topic is assigned a "total possible score" and a "score" is assigned based the status of the law using a rating scale that ranges from 0% to 100% (for example, if homosexuality is legal, it would would receive a score of 100, but if it's illegal, it would receve a score of 0.)

If the status of an issue is unknown, not applicable, or no data has not been added to Equaldex, the issue's score is completely discarded and not included in the ranking. In cases where a law varies throughout a region (for example, a country where same-sex marriage is legal in some states or provinces but not others), the score is averaged among all states or provinces, weighted equally.

Past laws that are no longer in effect do not impact the region's current score. New laws that have not gone into effect yet will not impact the region's score until the day it goes into effect.

Legal Index

(Total Possible Score for each issue × Factor of Status of Issue) / Sum of all Total Possible Scores

IssueTotal Possible ScoreStatusFactor
Homosexual activity100Legal×1.00
Male illegal, female uncertain×0.20
Male illegal, female legal×0.20
Illegal (other penalty)×0.15
Illegal (imprisonment as punishment)×0.10
Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment)×0.05
Illegal (death penalty as punishment)×0.00
Same-sex marriage60Legal×1.00
Civil unions×0.70
Other type of partnership×0.50
Foreign same-sex marriages recognized only×0.40
Unregistered cohabitation×0.30
Unrecognized, same-sex marriage and civil unions banned×0.05
Not legal×0.00
Censorship of LGBT Issues40No censorship×1.00
Fine as punishment×0.20
Other punishment×0.10
Imprisonment as punishment×0.00
Right to change legal gender40Legal, no restrictions×1.00
Legal, but requires medical diagnosis×0.70
Legal, but requires surgery×0.40
Legal recognition of non-binary gender30Recognized×1.00
Intersex only×0.70
Not legally recognized×0.00
LGBT discrimination20Illegal×1.00
Illegal in some contexts×0.50
No protections×0.00
LGBT employment discrimination20Sexual orientation and gender identity×1.00
Sexual orientation only×0.50
No protections×0.00
LGBT housing discrimination20Sexual orientation and gender identity×1.00
Sexual orientation only×0.50
No protections×0.00
Same-sex adoption20Legal×1.00
Married couples only×0.50
Single only×0.40
Step-child adoption only×0.20
Serving openly in military20Legal×1.00
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned×0.70
Don't Ask, Don't Tell×0.50
Blood donations by MSMs10Legal×1.00
Legal with restrictions×0.80
Banned (3-month deferral)×0.30
Banned (6-month deferral)×0.20
Banned (1-year deferral)×0.15
Banned (5-year deferral)×0.10
Banned (indefinite deferral)×0.00
Conversion therapy10Banned×1.00
Not banned×0.00
Equal age of consent10Equal×1.00

Public Opinion Index

The LGBT public opinion index measures the public attitudes towards LGBT people using surveys and polls from reputable organizations. This index is scored based on averaging the results of all surveys in a given region. Generally, the value averaged is usually the most “equal” response in the poll. For example, if a poll asked “Do you support same-sex marriage?” and 56% of people said “yes”, the value “56” would be used. In some cases, a survey may be weighted less if the survey is very specific or includes a specific group of people (such as Christians) and might not be a full representation of the overall attitudes of the region.

To better represent current attitudes, surveys are scored using a time-decay weighting method based on the date published. This means that the most recent surveys carry more weight in the public opinion index. Surveys from the current year and the previous year receive full weight. However, for surveys older than two years, an exponential decay of 75% applies each year. This weight decay ensures that the public opinion index is always most influenced by the most recent data, reflecting evolving public attitudes, while still taking into account older surveys to maintain a comprehensive overview. This change went into effect on July 21, 2023.

Note that public opinion data is not available in every region. In these cases, the Equality Index will only be a representation of the legal rights of LGBT people in the region. Additionally, some regions have no recent public opinion data available, so older data is used to score the region.

Public Opinion Index

(Survey Results Value × Survey Weight × Time Decay Factor) / (Survey Weight × Time Decay Factor)

Year Survey Published Time Decay Factor
2024 (current year)0.7501


  • Equaldex's Equality Index is constantly being improved and tracking it over time may not represent changes in equality over time. As more data is contributed to Equaldex, the index becomes more accurate. For example, adding survey results to a region will likely change the region's Equality Index — even more so if there is limited data on the region. In this case, the change in score could represent a change in attitudes in the region, but it may also just be an increase in the index's accuracy.
  • Global opinion surveys rarely include transgender topics. Especially in more conservative regions, surveys are usually limited to homosexuality or same-sex marriage. Equaldex continues to seek more international transgender public opinion data to make the Equality Index more inclusive.
  • The model for the Equality Index is evolving, and adjustments to weights and other parameters are likely as we continue to improve its accuracy and relevance.
  • The Equality Index is updated automatically as data is added to Equaldex and as new laws go into effect. When a new law or survey is added to Equaldex, the index will recalculate within a few hours.