LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBT+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBT+ 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.

17 / 20
Youth & Family Support

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

15.67 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Delaware’s U.S. Senators and Governor are all supportive of LGBT+ 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.

18 / 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.

15.5 / 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 LGBT+ people in Delaware report food insecurity, more than double that of the non-LGBT+ population (17%). LGBT+ unemployment (12%) is double that of non-LGBT+ unemployment.

7 / 20
A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBT+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • 4.2% of Maryland residents identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that’s LGBT+ personal income of $15.9 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Maryland’s comprehensive nondiscrimination law protects LGBT+ people, so the state is already experiencing the positive economic impacts of such policies. One estimate suggests that the state’s economy may have grown 3%, or $11.9 billion, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there’s still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in Maryland have a business imperative to ensure that LGBT+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • Maryland has a favorable economic environment for business investment – but taking steps to make LGBT+ people feel safer and more included would better enable companies to attract top LGBT+ talent.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBT+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBT+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that Maryland continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
Impact of LGBT+ 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 LGBT+ people create business and talent risks, please visit

  • 1
    No Risk
Companies incur no brand risk by doing business in Maryland, which has comprehensive laws protecting LGBT+ people and a correspondingly great reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no reason to believe that LGBT+ or strong ally clients would pull business from companies operating in Maryland.
  • 1
    No Risk
Maryland has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws and protections, and trans-inclusive health coverage, making it a state top LGBT+ talent would prioritize.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no risk in marketing to the LGBT+ community in Maryland.
  • 1
    No Risk
Maryland has a divided government, statewide nondiscrimination protections, and a recent history of almost no discriminatory bills filed. We do not see any risk of a negative event in the foreseeable future.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • – Baltimore Pride was founded in 1975, and the annual parade draws around 30,000 people.
  • – Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, held its first-ever pride parade in 2019.
  • – Race and gender greatly impact the sexual and gender minority community very differently. For instance over 70% of new HIV infections are among black MSM.
  • – Out of 48 nationwide counties that have 50% or more of new HIV infections, Maryland has three major hot spots: Prince George’s County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • – 70% of Maryland residents support LGBT+ nondiscrimination laws.
  • – 59% of Maryland residents oppose the concept of religious exemptions for small businesses that would allow them to discriminate against LGBT+ people.