REPORT: Preempting LGBTQ+ Rights: How States Undermine Local Leadership and Innovation on LGBTQ+ Equality

February 13, 2024

Throughout the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, local governments have been leaders in securing new rights for LGBTQ+ individuals and families. However, the ability of local officials to lead on LGBTQ+ equality is increasingly under assault.

In 2023, state legislators introduced a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, with many attacking the rights of transgender and nonbinary individuals. There are no indications that the 2024 legislative session will be any different. In fact, given the upcoming federal and state elections, there is likely to be an uptick in such bills. These hostile, anti-LGBTQ+ efforts target many different facets of the LGBTQ+ community and pursue a range of approaches to roll back LGBTQ+ equality.

Preemption of local government authority is one tactic that is commonly included in anti-LGBTQ+ measures. Of the state anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the 2023 legislative session, at least one-third included preemption provisions that would limit the authority of local governments and lawmakers to pass measures protecting LGBTQ+ individuals and families or otherwise advancing LGBTQ+ rights.

In a new paper from A Better Balance, Local Solutions Support Center, and Equality Federation, we trace the local roots of LGBTQ+ equality in the United States and highlight the different types of abusive preemption that target local authority to protect LGBTQ+ individuals.

Read the full report here.

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