Delaware moves up in the State Equality Index - Delaware


Feb. 1, 2019 1:41 pm

Delaware moves up in the State Equality Index

Delaware continues to make progress in LGBTQ equality, according to the HRC.
The LGBTQ Pride flag.

The LGBTQ Pride flag.

(Photo by Flickr user torbakhopper, used under a Creative Commons license)

Last year, Delaware received a good — but not great — rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Annual State Equality Index, a review of state legislation affecting the LGBTQ community.

The “Solidifying Equality” rating Delaware received for 2017 is the second highest of the HRC’s four categories:

  1. “Working Toward Innovative Equality”
  2. “Solidifying Equality”
  3. “Building Equality”
  4. “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”

Last year, some of Delaware’s biggest shortcomings were in the area of protections and rights for LGBTQ youth.

This year, thanks to new legislation, Delaware — hometown of HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride —  is now one of 16 states (and D.C.) in the top “Working Toward Innovative Equality” category.

HRC index graph

(Courtesy image)

Here’s the pro-LGBTQ legislation we have now that we didn’t in 2017:

  • Transgender inclusion in sports
  • Protection from conversion therapy

Delaware also introduced Religious Exemptions in State Non-Discrimination Laws, which the HRC labels as “bad bills” for the LGBTQ community. These exemptions can negate protections in cases where a non-discrimination law is broken by someone for reasons deemed religious.


Delaware is still behind in a couple of areas concerning LGBTQ parenting, including second parent adoption and foster care non-discrimination.

Overall, the state is strong enough to move up a category in the index, with hate crime legislation that covers both sexual orientation and gender identity; a number of non-discrimination laws applying to employment, housing and higher education; and a ban on exclusions for trans health care.

Delaware joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington in the “Working Toward Innovative Equality” category.

See the Delaware scorecard.


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