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Less Than 10 Percent of Proposed Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in 2022 Became Law, Report Finds

LGBTQ+ Legislation

The Human Rights Campaign's 2022 State Equality Index reports that state legislators introduced 315 “anti-equality" bills throughout the year, but only 29 became law.

Last year saw a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced among state legislatures, but a new report from the Human Rights Campaign found that less than 10 percent became law.

The 2022 State Equality Index, which tracks legislation around LGBTQ+ identities annually, reports that state legislators introduced 315 “anti-equality" bills throughout the year, but only 29 became law.

Most of the laws targeted transgender youth, with 18 states banning trans athletes from participating in school sports teams that align with their gender identity, and four states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, and Tennessee) placing restrictions on or outright banning gender-affirming healthcare.

In contrast to the anti-equality legislation, the HRC also report also found that 156 "pro-equality" bills were proposed in 2022, with 23 becoming law. Several states also already have LGBTQ+ protection laws, with 21 restricting conversion therapy, 38 allowing name and gender updates on state identification, and 27 allowing said changes on birth certificates.

However, 23 states still do not have protections based on gender identity, and 22 do not protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The HRC report identified the motivation behind such bills as a conservative response to recent gains in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

“We consider this to be part of the backlash from the gains around marriage equality, from the gains in overall equality through the courts or through cities and other states," said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the HRC, via NBC.

Winterhof added that she believes conservative politicians have also pushed the policies to urge more voters to support their candidates, though midterm polling data has since led shown that to be a poor strategy.

A previous Human Rights Campaign poll shows that the top two issues among voters were inflation and abortion, with 52 percent and 29 percent respectively citing it as their top motivator to vote. Less than five percent cited LGBTQ+ bills as motivators.

Winterhof believes that bans on gender-affirming care or sports participation are more likely to hurt conservative politicians in future elections.

“For many people, the jig is up,” she said. “I know they don’t see that, but these are not winning issues.”

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