“In 2018, 38 bills were introduced at the state level that targeted LGBTQ+ rights in one way or another. So far this year,2 411 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced, representing an almost 11-fold increase in just five years.
The majority (53 percent) of the 2018 bills were religious exemptions, which are bills that allow people or businesses to discriminate against others based on sexual orientation or gender identity if those characteristics violate their religious beliefs. For example, a bill in Oklahoma would have allowed individuals to deny services or goods that would have been used to “promote, advertise, endorse or advocate for a specific marriage, lifestyle or behavior,” if that marriage/lifestyle/behavior went against their religious beliefs.
In recent years, though, state lawmakers have expanded their ambitions, introducing a wider variety of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. There have been bills to ban books, bills to repeal bans on conversion therapy and bills to create a religious-based legal category of marriage that excludes same-sex couples. The most common types of legislation this year have been school restrictions (which include things like limiting classroom discussions of sexuality and gender), which account for 33 percent of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 2023, and health care restrictions (such as prohibiting trans kids from receiving gender-affirming care), which account for 27 percent. By contrast, religious exemptions were down to 8 percent of the bills introduced this year.”
“The vast majority of these bills don’t become law. Between 2018 and today, 88 to 97 percent of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced did not become law. And of those that did, many have been challenged in and even overturned by the courts. But as the raw number of these bills has increased, so too has the number becoming law: In 2018, just two anti-LGBTQ+ bills were ultimately signed into law. So far this year, 51 have become law.”