Last updated on: 7/2/2009 | Author:

Summary of States That Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation


This summary is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice. A list like this one cannot convey the many details about each law, including exemptions and exceptions particular to each statute. However, in a particular case of discrimination, a complete understanding of these details becomes essential. For legal advice, consult with an attorney.

States with Civil Rights Legislation OR Governor’s Executive Orders
There are now 16 states prohibiting employment discrimination i[in public and private areas(shown with a yellow background in the chart below). Executive orders do not carry the same weight or have the same permanence as laws, but are included here for informational purposes.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA “Further Amendment to Executive Order 11478 EEO in the federal Government” (5/28/98) X            
Alaska Admin. Order No. 195 (2002) X            
Arizona Executive Order 2003-22 X            
California Labor Code §§ 1101, 1102 & 1102.1 (1992) X X X X      
Colorado Executive Order 90-13-98 (1990) X            
Connecticut Public Act 91-58 (5/29/91) X X X X X X X
Delaware Executive Order No. 10 (01/23/2001) X            
Hawaii Rev. Stats., §§ 368-1 & 378-2 (3/21/91) X X X   X   X
Illinois Illinois Human Rights Act as amended by SB3186 in January 2005 X X X   X X  
Indiana 2001 Employment Policy X            
Repealed December 2000
Executive Order No. 7 (9/13/99) X            
Kentucky Executive Order 2003-533 X            
Louisiana Executive Order No. KBB 2004-54 X            
Maine 112nd Maine Leg. Bill LD No.1146. (eff. 6/29/05) X X X X X X  
Maryland Senate Bill 205, Antidiscrimination Act of 2001 (5/15/2001). X X X   X   X
Massachusetts Gen. L., Ch. 151B, §§ 3-4 (West 1995) X X X X X X X
Michigan Executive Order (12/23/03) X            
Minnesota Ch. 22, H.F. No. 585 (4/2/93) X X X X X X  
Montana Montana Operations Manual (MOM) Policy No. 3-0630 X            
Nevada NRS 610.010 et seq. (Eff. 10/1/99). 1999 Nev. Assem. Bill No. 311 X   X       X
New Hampshire RSA 21 (as amended by H.B. 421, 3/19/97) X X X   X    
New Jersey Ch. 519, L.N.J. 1991; Hum Rts. Law [C.10:5-3] (1/92) X X X X X    
New Mexico HB277 (2004) covers sexual orientation and gender identity X X X   X X  
New York The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (S.720/A.1971)
Signed by Governer Pataki on 12/17/02
Goes into effect on 1/16/03
X X X X X X  
Rewritten 1999
Executive Order 83-64 (12/30/83)
Rewritten 6/99 to exclude gay state employees
Oregon Oregon’s employment discrimination statute (which does not use the words “sexual orientation”) has been interpreted by the Oregon intermediate appellate court and by a federal court in Oregon to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The first case to hold this was Tanner v. Oregon Health Sciences University, 157 Ore. App. 502, 971 P.2d 435 (1998). X   X        
Pennsylvania Executive Order No. 1988-1 (1/20/88) X            
Rhode Island 95-H 6678 Sub.A (5/22/95) X X X   X X  
Vermont Hum. Rts. Law (4/23/92) X X X X X X X
Washington Executive Order 85-09 (12/24/85) X            
Washington, DC Human Rights Act, 1977, D.C.L. 2-38, D.C. Code §1-2541(c) 12/13/77 X X X X X X X
Wisconsin Laws of 1981, Ch. 112 X X X X X X X

Source: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Lambda Legal) posted on their web site (accessed June 17, 2005)