New Jersey in Top 5 among states in LGBTQ+ equality ranking

The 2023 State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index was released this week by Out Leadership. The global LGBTQ+ organization finds “the state of LGBTQ+ access and equality in the U.S. is regressing,” signaling “increasing polarization across the country in political and cultural attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community.”

For the first time since Out Leadership began publishing the State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index five years ago, the nation’s overall average score on LGBTQ+ equality dropped, by 1.14 points. The net negative rating for the country is largely due to the more than 500 anti-equality bills that have been introduced at the state level this legislative cycle.

In the 2023 index, New Jersey was in the Top 5 states for LGBTQ+ equality, earning an overall score of 90 out of 100. The Garden State also made the Top 5 last year, with a score of 90.33, and, in 2021, it scored 87.33.

The Top 5 Best States for LGBTQ+ Equality include:

  1. New York: 93.67
  2. Connecticut: 93.27
  3. Massachusetts: 92.67
  4. New Jersey: 90.00
  5. Colorado: 88.67

The 5 Worst States for LGBTQ+ Equality include:

  1. South Dakota: 34.97
  2. Tennessee: 34.40
  3. Louisiana: 33.50
  4. South Carolina: 32.50
  5. Arkansas: 32.00

“As greater numbers of multinational companies continue to shift away from U.S.-based operations, the business impact of this year’s index points to a harmful effect for the nation’s economy and job market,” Todd Sears, founder and CEO of Out Leadership, said. “Companies simply don’t want to be at odds with the business policies and practices of the state they operate in, and they certainly don’t want to feel attacked by them.”

“While the top-ranked states for LGBTQ+ equality broadly are staying strong, the bottom-ranked states decreased in score significantly. This continues to signal increasing polarization across the country in political and cultural attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community,” Brian Sims, managing director, public policy and government affairs, for Out Leadership, said.