Demonstrators gather at Monument Circle to protest the controversial religious freedom bill recently signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) during a rally in Indianapolis on March 28. (Nate Chute/Reuters)

The kinds of anti-gay discrimination that advocates fear Indiana’s new law will allow are already explicitly banned in roughly 18 other states.

It’s already been well established that Indiana is far from the first state to pass religious protections in some version of Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In fact, it became the 20th when Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a new bill into law last week — and several others are considering doing the same.

Critics argue that laws such as Indiana’s essentially grant immunity, on religious grounds, from discriminating against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. And that concern has sparked a major backlash, with corporations like Apple, Salesforce and the NBA speaking out about the law or threatening potential action over it.

But if Indiana and those other RFRA states draw derision from the LGBT community, nearly as many deserve plaudits. Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., specifically prohibit discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And 17 offer similar protections in public accommodations, a category that includes the government and private businesses, such as restaurants, movie theaters, libraries and shops.

Here’s a look at those state prohibitions, according to maps updated last Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign, which supports LGBT rights. (Note: The original HRC state maps have been modified, with legends added, for readability.)


States that ban LGBT discrimination in employment. (Niraj Chokshi; Source: HRC)

States that ban LGBT discrimination in housing. (Niraj Chokshi; Source: HRC)

States that ban LGBT discrimination in public accommodations. (Niraj Chokshi; Source: HRC)