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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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Other Parental Recognition Laws

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell extending marriage to same-sex couples across the country, as well as subsequent rulings such as Pavan, both members of a married same-sex couple must be listed on the birth certificate of a child born into such a marriage. Note other laws may allow parents to establish legal parentage, depending on the state.
United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • State has laws that create legal ties to both parents for children born to same-sex parents in a legally recognized relationship (marriage or comprehensive relationship recognition)(50 states + D.C.)
  • State lacks clear mechanisms that create legal ties to both parents for children born to same-sex couples via donor insemination (0 states)
Access to a birth certificate is important, but it is not a determination of legal parentage that must be recognized in every state. Same-sex couples, regardless of whether they are married, are advised to obtain a court judgment of parentage or second parent/stepparent adoption to ensure that their parental rights will be respected.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

100%

100 % of LGBT population lives in states with laws that create legal ties for children born to same-sex parents in a legally recognized relationship

0%

0 % of LGBT population lives in states lacking clear mechanisms that create legal ties to both parents

This map shows the states in which a non-gestational and non-genetic parent can be considered a parent by the state. For example, when a woman consents to have a child with her wife through donor insemination, the non-gestational mother is a legal parent (just as a woman’s husband would be a legal parent of a child they have using donor insemination, even though he is not the biological father). In some states, being married is not a requirement for parental recognition for a non-gestational and non-genetic parent. The process of “consenting to insemination” allows parents in some states a way to establish a legal relationship to the child irrespective of the parents’ marital status. Note that even if assisted reproduction laws do not exist or apply, other laws may protect married or unmarried parents, depending on the state.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • State recognizes the non-gestational parent as a legal parent, regardless of marital status, if the non-gestational parent consents to the conception of a child born using assisted reproduction (10 states + D.C.)
  • State recognizes the non-gestational parent as a legal parent if the couple is married*, but state lacks clear and direct statute or case law for couples who are not married (40 states)
  • State does not recognize non-gestational parent as a legal parent* (0 states)
* Because of several U.S. Supreme Court cases including Obergefell and Pavan, all states must extend the same rights and benefits to same-sex married couples that are extended to different-sex married couples, including recognizing a non-gestational parent as a legal parent. Therefore, consent to inseminate is not necessary to establish a legal relationship to a child.

This map was developed in collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). For more information about these topics and active litigation, visit NCLR

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

25%

25 % of LGBT population lives in states that recognize the non-gestational parent as a legal parent, regardless of marital status, if the non-gestational parent consents to the conception of a child born using assisted reproduction

75%

75 % of LGBT population lives in states that recognize the non-gestational parent as a legal parent if the couple is married*, but state lacks clear and direct statute or case law for couples who are not married

0%

0 % of LGBT population lives in states do not recognize non-gestational parent as a legal parent

De facto parenting laws apply when someone is raising a child but is not a legal parent of that child. De Facto parenting laws provide these parents with some limited legal rights to the child, for example, possibly granting visitation, custody or even full parenting rights should the parent’s relationship dissolve. Note other laws may allow parents to establish legal parentage, depending on the state.
United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • State recognizes de facto parents and may grant them visitation, custody or full parenting rights(6 states)
  • State allows limited recognition of de facto parents as a basis for visitation and/or custody (24 states + D.C.)
  • State recognition of de facto parents is uncertain or state may require parent to provide specific evidence (14 states)
  • State does not recognize de facto parents (6 states)
A "de facto parent" is someone other than a legal parent who, for reasons other than financial compensation, formed a child-parent relationship in which he or she shared (usually at least equally) in primary childcare responsibilities. This can be any person who acts as a parent in a child’s life and meets certain criteria, including same-sex parents, grandparents, stepparents, aunts, uncles or other loved ones. Analysis by the Movement Advancement Project.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

7%

7 % of LGBT population lives in states recognizing de facto parents and may grant them visitation, custody or full parenting rights

57%

57 % of LGBT population lives in states allowing limited recognition of de facto parents as a basis for visitation and/or custody

25%

25 % of LGBT population lives in states where recognition of de facto parents is uncertain or may require parent to provide specific evidence

10%

10 % of LGBT population lives in states that do not recognize de facto parents



Data current as of 08/16/2018
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