Despite efforts by the Trump administration and others to push anti-LGBTQ legislation, bills protecting LGBTQ rights outpaced them last year.
That’s according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign, which found that 21 of the 201 pro-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures across the country were signed into law in 2018. Meanwhile, only two of 110 anti-LGBTQ bills got through. This marks a notable improvement from 2017, when 12 of 129 anti-LGBTQ bills passed.
Among the bills offering protections to the LGBTQ community were a number of nondiscrimination efforts as well as bans on gay conversion therapy. Five state passed bans on gay conversion therapy for minors last year, and New York signed its own bill into law in January. Fifteen states and Washington D.C. now prohibit the practice.
Cathryn Oakley, the report’s co-author and HRC’s state legislative director told NBC News that the bans are becoming a “bit of a phenomenon,” made even more significant by the fact that as many as one-third were signed by Republican governors.
Oklahoma and Kansas are the states that passed the two anti-LGBTQ laws last year. They both enacted religious “license to discriminate” policies, which allow adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with LGBTQ prospective parents.
Even with the passage of these two laws, the Human Rights Campaign expressed “cautious” optimism that state legislators are “hearing from their constituents and key stakeholders the message that LGBTQ equality is good for business.”