Companies looking to bring their business to the U.S. often consider states’ positions and track records on issues relating to equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community when deciding where to establish operations, in order to ensure that their employees will find a community of tolerance.
The State of Delaware is among the strongest supporters of gay and transgender rights in the United States. Delaware was an early adopter of civil union rights and has been a steady advocate of rights for the LGBT community.
In 2013, the Delaware General Assembly passed a marriage equality statute and two years before that the legislature passed the Civil Union and Equality Act of 2011, which created legal recognition of same-sex civil unions solemnized after January 1, 2012. In addition, the 2013 Act provides that persons of the same gender who are in legal unions (marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships) established in other jurisdictions have the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities as married persons under Delaware law, such as spousal hospital visits and adoption.
Discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation has been illegal in Delaware since 2009 for employment and for housing. There are also laws against hate crimes for reasons of gender identity and sexual orientation, and laws against bullying in school for reasons of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Delaware’s business community also supports equal treatment of all Delawareans. Two years ago, as the State prepared to pass the civil marriage equality act, flagship Delaware corporation DuPont publicly announced its support for the bill, and months later joined nearly two hundred other Delaware companies calling for the State to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, which it did soon after.