Pennsylvania has scored in the top half of states in the 2017 State Equality Index report, moving into the “Building Equality” category for the first time.
The report, released today by the Equality Federation Institute and Human Rights Campaign, assesses statewide LGBTQ-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, relationship recognition and religious refusal laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies.
“Pennsylvania has made great progress over the past few years, thanks largely in part to the strong, tireless work and leadership of Equality Pennsylvania,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. “The State Equality Index reminds us that the strength of our movement is where it has always been: in the states, in the communities we call home.”
“Equality Pennsylvania is grateful that our fight to improve and protect LGBTQ Pennsylvanians lives has been recognized by Pennsylvania moving into the ‘Building Equality’ category,” said Interim Executive Director John Dawe. “This is also a testament to the dozens of organizations and people across the state that work day in and out, fighting for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. These include our LGBTQ Community Centers, our friends at the ACLU, AFL-CIO, PA Youth Congress, the PA Legislative Equality Caucus, and of course U.S. Senator Bob Casey and Governor Tom Wolf.”
Based on a comprehensive review of existing laws and policies as well as current and pending legislation, the SEI assigns states to one of four distinct categories:
•Working Toward Equality (13 states and DC)
•Solidifying Equality (5 states)
•Building Equality (6 states including Pennsylvania)
•High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality (26 states)
“According to the report data, even at a time of historically broad and deep support for full LGBTQ equality, an estimated 12 million-plus LGBTQ Americans and their families remain at risk, particularly if they live in one of the 31 states where laws do not adequately protect them against being fired, evicted or denied services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Dawe. “Pennsylvania remains one of those states, and we are fighting every day and will continue to do so in 2018 and as long as it takes to secure equality and justice for ALL.