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Anti-LGBTQ Laws in the United States

October 12th, 2017

More states are proposing and passing laws to restrict the rights of LGBTQ individuals.

More states are proposing and passing laws to restrict the rights of LGBTQ individuals.

There are a number of laws throughout the United States which currently endanger the lives of individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Sadly, an increasing number of states are in the process of developing additional laws that restrict the rights of LGBTQ individuals. The Washington Post reports that 348 bills since 2013 have been passed restricting LGBTQ civil rights and 23 of these bills have become law. This alarming statistic comes at a time when there have been at least 70 anti-LGBTQ bills so far in 2017, which is a significant increase from last year. These bills are divided between religious freedom, individuals who refuse to serve LGBTQ customers, and bathroom bills. 

The 32 Anti-LGBTQ Laws

There are currently 32 anti-LGBTQ laws that exist in the United States, which include the following:


  • Arkansas 202. This law prohibits cities and counties in Arkansas from passing nondiscrimination laws that are more expansive than the state’s laws.
  • Arkansas 975. Also known as the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, this law states that any government action in Arkansas that is a substantial burden to an individual’s free exercise of religion only stands if the law furthers a compelling government interest in the least restrictive way possible.
  • Florida 43. Provides that churches or religious organizations are not required to solemnize any marriage if the action would violate a sincerely held religious belief.
  • Indiana 101. This law allows individuals to assert that their exercise of religion has been or is likely to be substantially burdened as a defense in legal proceedings.
  • Kansas 175. Prohibits public universities from denying a religious student association any benefit available to any other student association based on those organizations’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Kansas HB 2203. Prohibits the government from substantially burdening a person’s civil right to exercise of religion even if the burden results from a generally applicable rule.
  • Mississippi 1523. Among other things, this law states that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one and one woman, sexual relationships are properly reserved for marriage, and male/female refers to a person’s sex based on their anatomy and genetics at the time of their birth.
  • Mississippi 2681. The government cannot substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification.
  • Michigan 4188, Michigan 4189, and Michigan 4190. These laws allow adoption agencies to refuse service to same sex or unmarried couples even if these refusals go against their religious beliefs.
  • North Carolina SB 2. Allow magistrates, assistant registers of deeds, and deputy registers of deeds to recuse themselves from performing duties related to marriage ceremonies based on sincerely held religious objections.
  • North Carolina HB 2. States that individuals may only use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.
  • Oklahoma 2873. A public institution of higher learning cannot take any action to enforce any policy that would deny a religious student association any benefit available to any other student organization.
  • Tennessee HB 534. Prohibits nondiscrimination for college religious groups.
  • Virginia 330, Virginia 612, Virginia 1074, and Virginia 1617. A series of bills that allow individuals in Virginia to make religious freedom decisions without the possibility of government response.


The Universal Life Church

The field of LGBTQ rights is constantly evolving. Unfortunately, new laws are consistently challenging the rights of individuals who identify as LGBTQ in this country. The Universal Life Church aims to describe these various updates in a way that can be easily understood by readers. By remaining up to date with our blog, readers can remain aware of the most recent developments in this area of the law.

(image courtesy of Peter Hershey)

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