LGBTQ+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBTQ+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBTQ+ people residing in each state, quantifying the economic imperatives for inclusion and the costs of discrimination. It equips business leaders and policymakers with a clear sense of the most impactful steps states can take to make themselves more hospitable to forward-thinking, innovative, inclusive businesses.


out of a possible 100 points

Legal & Nondiscrimination Protection

Delaware has strong nondiscrimination protections on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Delaware allows transgender individuals to amend their gender markers on birth certificates and drivers’ licenses relatively easily.

18 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Delaware bans conversion therapy and does not restrict in-school discussions of LGBTQ+ issues. Though there are not broad nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ youth in schools, anti-bullying protections are in place.

16.87 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Delaware’s U.S. Senators and Governor are all supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, though a few of them have evolved on the issue over time. The state’s nondiscrimination laws allows for exemptions, but only for religious institutions.

14 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Delaware has strong hate crime protections in place for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Private insurers are barred from discriminating against people due to sexual orientation or gender identity and the State bans transgender exclusions by insurers, however, state Medicaid has no explicit policy regarding transgender health coverage and care. There is no specific HIV criminalization statute.

15 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

12% of transgender employees in Delaware reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 20% reported mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching their gender. 39% of LGBTQ+ people in Delaware report food insecurity, more than double that of the non-LGBTQ+ population (17%). LGBTQ+ unemployment (12%) is double that of non-LGBTQ+ unemployment.

7 / 20
A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices. NOTE: *HIV criminalization laws are discriminatory and ineffective. These laws fail to account for advances made in treating and controlling HIV, may deter people from getting tested and seeking treatment, and can exacerbate the stigma targeting people living with HIV and LGBTQ+ people.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • Delaware has made real and exciting progress when it comes to building acceptance for LGBTQ+ people within its legal system and in terms of cultural attitudes - leaders have the opportunity to build on a strong foundation for equality.
  • 4.5% of Delaware residents identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that's LGBTQ+ personal income of $2.2 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • When LGBTQ+ employees don't feel welcome at work, they're less likely to stay, and employee turnover is a drag on the state economy and business competitiveness. It costs companies an average of $10,440 to replace an employee in Delaware. The state and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to continue to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBTQ+ people to participate more fully in the economy. If Delaware strengthened its enforcement of discrimination laws, the economic impact would be significant. One estimate suggests that Delaware's economy could grow by up to 3%, or $2.1 billion.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBTQ+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBTQ+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that Delaware continue to create a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
Impact of LGBTQ+ Discrimination on Business and Talent
  • 1
    No Risk
  • 2
    Low Risk
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
  • 4
    Notable Risk
  • 5
    High Risk

For more context around these scores, and to learn more about the criteria we used to assess how state laws, actions and attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people create business and talent risks, please visit

  • 1
    No Risk
Companies incur no brand risk by doing business in Delaware, which has strong LGBTQ+ protections and a positive reputation for equality.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no reason to believe that LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients would pull business from companies operating in Delaware, where pro-LGBTQ+ state leaders regularly speak out against discrimination.
  • 2
    Low Risk
Delaware has comprehensive nondiscrimination and hate crime protections, along with favorable laws around surrogacy and adoption, but reported levels of workplace harassment are relatively high, which might make LGBTQ+ professionals considering working in the state think twice.
  • 1
    No Risk
The majority of Delawareans favor LGBTQ+ rights and protections, making marketing to the LGBT+ community there a risk-free proposition.
  • 1
    No Risk
Delaware has no recent history of negative bills filed, and we would not expect that to change in the foreseeable future. We assess this state as currently having no risk of a negative, headline-making event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

Delaware has an active LGBTQ+ community, particularly in connection with the statewide celebration of Pride Month. Festivals and events occur throughout the month of June in Wilmington, Rehoboth Beach, and other municipalities.

CAMP Rehoboth, an LGBTQ+ organization and resource center in Rehoboth Beach, hosts a variety of programs and support groups. Its list of LGBTQ+ resources includes over 20 statewide organizations supporting LGBTQ+ issues like wellness, HIV/AIDs, and legal justice.

Delaware had its first-ever state pride parade June 2019. The 2020 version was canceled due to the COVID-19, but the 2021 celebration is already booked.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

As of 2017, a poll found that 58% of Delaware residents supported same-sex marriage. The same poll also found that 68% of Delawareans supported an anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation and gender identity, while 21% were opposed. 60% of respondents opposed a religious based refusal to serve LGBTQ+ People, with only 28% in favor.

In 2018, a proposed regulation would have required transgender children to get their parents’ permission to attend school in their chosen gender. It was eventually shelved after thousands of people made public comments on both sides of the proposal.