Arkansas is the least LGBTQ-friendly state in the country

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A recent study by move.org sought to identify the most and least LGBTQ-friendly states for families in the United States.

According to the report, Arkansas ranks at the very bottom with an overall score of 6.7 on a 1 to 100 rating scale. The District of Columbia, Massachusetts and California took the top three spots in the rankings.

According to move.org, states were scored using a point system based on “the legal protections they provide to LGBTQ+ citizens and the number of LGBTQ+ people residing there.” Points increased from 1 (worst possible score) to 100 (highest possible score). Other quality of life elements such as affordability, climate or culture were not a factor in the ranking.

The laws and factors examined in each state were:

  • Non-discrimination laws: States with laws that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity scored higher than states without such laws.
  • Laws on adoption and second parents/step-parents: States with laws that prevent LGBTQ+ discrimination by adoption agencies scored higher than states without such laws.
  • Laws of conversion therapy: States that prohibit mental health professionals from subjecting LGBTQ+ minors to “conversion therapy” scored higher than states that allow such practices.
  • Hate crimes laws: States where criminals can face additional or enhanced penalties for committing crimes that target people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity scored higher than states without such laws.
  • Transgender health care: States that prohibit insurance exclusions for transgender health care scored higher than states that do not.
  • LGBTQ+ population density: States with larger LGBTQ+ populations scored higher than states where fewer LGBTQ+ people live or feel comfortable coming out.

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • Arkansas, Wyoming and South Carolina are the three worst states for raising an LGBTQ+ family. None of these states have laws or policies protecting LGBTQ+ people.
  • Washington DC was included in the ranking because it does not belong to any state. And, due to the district’s comprehensive LGBTQ+ laws and protections, it’s ranked as the nation’s best place for LGBTQ+ families. Its LGBTQ+ population makes up nearly 10% of its total population, making DC more LGBTQ dense than any state.
  • All of the top 10 states for raising an LGBTQ+ family are blue states.
  • Nevada landed the 14th position on our list, which means it scored higher than any other swing state.
  • At 22nd, Utah scored higher for LGBTQ-inclusive laws than any other red state.
  • 20 states have enacted conversion therapy bans in the past 5 years. 22 states still have no laws or policies prohibiting conversion therapy.

The full results of the report are available here.

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