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

Utah’s nondiscrimination laws cover sexual orientation and gender identity, but not in cases of public accommodation, or credit and lending. Both birth certificate and driver’s license gender markers can be changed without surgery, though both require a court order and medical statement.

14.8 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy is no longer legal in Utah as of 2020. Two people in a relationship – regardless of gender – must marry in order to adopt children as a couple. The state’s gestational surrogacy law excludes gay men by requiring proof of a mother’s inability to carry a child. There are no nondiscrimination protections for students in Utah’s schools, and the state law on bullying does not specify sexual orientation or gender identity, although teachers’ state guidelines do.

14.33 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Utah’s Senator Mike Lee has an anti-LGBT+ voting record and speaks out against LGBT+ protections. The current governor of the state campaigned on an anti-LGBT+ platform and vetoed a pro-LGBT+ bill.

11 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Transgender healthcare is not covered by Medicaid, and the state has no insurance nondiscrimination protections in place for either gender identity or sexual orientation. The state does not ban private insurance companies from excluding transgender healthcare coverage. New hate crimes legislation with protections for sexual orientation or gender identity was signed into law in April 2019. Deliberately exposing someone else to HIV is criminalized as a misdemeanor; the penalty could be higher if it happens in the context of illegal activity, such as sex work.

9.67 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

21% of transgender employees in Utah reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity. 26% of LGBT+ individuals in Utah reported food insecurity, more than double the rate for non-LGBT+ individuals. More than 10% of LGBT+ individuals report unemployment in Utah, more than double the rate of the non-LGBT+ population (4%).

9 / 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
  • 3.7% of Utah residents identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $5.3 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • When LGBT+ 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 $9,292 to replace an employee in Utah, and it can cost upwards of $351,000 to replace senior executives. Utah and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBT+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • 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 Utah continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Utah has a regressive attitude towards trans people when it comes to healthcare and hate crimes protections. Treating trans people as unequal makes us look complicit if we choose to do business in Wisconsin -- equality is good for everyone's bottom line.
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 www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

  • 4
    Notable Risk
Doing business in Utah can create notable brand risk. Statewide elected officials generally uphold anti-LGBT+ status quos.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk of LGBT+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Utah, in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
Utah’s LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination law aside, LGBT+ talent would likely consider Utah’s legal and social environment to be notably unfriendly, in large part due to the unwelcoming tone struck by its statewide elected officials.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no risk to marketing to LGBT+ people in Utah, where the mayor of Salt Lake City is a lesbian and new hate crimes legislation covering sexual orientation and gender identity came into law in 2019.
  • 2
    Low Risk
The state seems to have little appetite to pursue discriminatory legislation. We currently see low risk of a future negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • The Utah Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that a married male same-sex couple’s challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s gestational surrogacy law is allowed to go forward, despite a lower court denying the petition. But the court didn’t decide on the issue itself. The law ffectively deprives male same-sex couples of the ability to have biological children through surrogacy by requiring that the couple provide evidence that the intended “mother” is medically unable to carry a child.
  • In October 2016, LGBT+-rights advocacy group Equality Utah and three plaintiffs, all public school students, filed a lawsuit against the Utah State Board of Education in the US District Court for the District of Utah, challenging state laws and regulations that prohibited positive discussion of homosexuality in schools (commonly known as “no promo homo” laws). In response, in March 2017, state lawmakers passed SB196, which removed the prohibitory language from state laws, and the plaintiffs eventually agreed to settle with the State Board of Education once the Board agreed to revise its rules in line with the new legislation.
  • Utah’s 43rd pride parade, in 2018, saw a record of 100,000 participants.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • In April 2019, the Mormon Church announced the reversal of a 2015 policy that deemed LGBT+ members apostates and barred the children of LGBT+ people from receiving baptisms and blessings. The reversal was extremely rapid by general church standards and reflected the mass outrage its members expressed toward the policy.
  • Salt Lake City’s tourism division actively touts itself as an LGBT+-friendly destination, including links to outside news sites about the city’s gay culture.
  • In 2018, a mob chased a group of gay people after the Utah Pride Festival while yelling homophobic chants and slurs.