February 14, 2019 at 2:42 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. receives highest rating in 2019 State Equality Index report
State Equality Index, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBT rights groups Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute have awarded D.C., which they treat as a state, the highest rating in their 2019 State Equality Index report.

“This year, the number of states that obtained the SEI’s highest rating, ‘Working Toward Innovative Equality,’ increased from 13 to 17,” the two groups said in a statement. “These states – including the District of Columbia – currently have robust LGBTQ non-discrimination laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations, as well as protections in the areas of credit and insurance,” the statement says.

Delaware is among the 16 states and D.C. in the top tier category. The 2019 State Equality Index places Maryland among four states in a second tier category called “Solidifying Equality.” It places Virginia among eight states in the lowest-rated category called ‘High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.’

Virginia currently has five openly LGBT members of its state legislature, the General Assembly, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans whose leaders are hostile to LGBT rights. The GOP leaders have bottled up in committee each year for the last decade or more LGBT supportive legislation that observers say would be approved if Democrats take control of the legislature.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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