While the name “United States of America” makes this country sound like a unified nation, when it comes to LGBT rights, the states are anything but united. The people of some states were quick to accept their LGBT brothers and sisters, while others have passed bans that make them second-class citizens. If you’re considering moving and want to find a home that’s much more LGBT-friendly, here are a few states that many gay and lesbian real estate agents recommend.
It might surprise some people to learn that California tops the list of LGBT-friendly states after the hard battle against Prop 8, but while it was a struggle, California has granted LGBT people may different rights. Same-sex couples can get adoptions, have IVF treatments, and marry, plus there are a number of laws protecting people on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Transgender people can also change their gender on official documents without having gender reassignment surgery.
The state of Washington is another great place for LGBT people. Both domestic partnerships and same-sex marriage are legal, plus transgender people can change official documents without surgery. The state has also provided benefits to the partners of state employees since 2001. The only thing California has going for it that Washington does not is that Washington has no laws against organizations that try to change the sexual orientation of minors. The state legislature attempted to pass such a law in February of 2014, but it failed.
Oregon takes third place on this list, giving the West Coast a clean sweep of the top three spots. All LGBT people now have the right to marry, enter into a civil partnership, and adopt children. IVF and surrogacy is legal for same-sex couples. The state also has a number of anti-discrimination laws on the books to protect LGBT people.
Jumping to the other coast, Connecticut takes the fourth spot on the list. The state has passed laws making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Same-sex marriage is legal, and the state has extended benefits to same-sex partners of state employees. Transgender people can easily change identification without going through any surgical process, too. Like Washington, though, there are no laws banning gay conversion groups, nor does Connecticut allow for civil unions—as of 2010, all civil unions were changed into marriages, even if those in the civil union did not want to be married.
These four states offer the most rights for LGBT people, but many other states are moving in the right direction.