red do not enter sign at the highway with blue sky

The Worst States To Live in for Anyone Other Than White, Straight, Cisgender, Able-Bodied Men

The answers won't surprise you.

Certain groups of people have protections under the United States Constitution. Those protections supersede contrary state laws. Therefore, there is a Constitutional baseline for civil rights protections for most groups in the United States. It is up to the states, however, to decide whether to expand on those legal protections within their borders.

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For example, California has enacted legal protections for groups beyond those outlined in the Constitution. The same is true for the District of Columbia, and a handful of states have made a short list of additions as well. Unsurprisingly, the states with the fewest protections tend to be majority republican.

The NAACP has helpfully created a comprehensive list of the 50 states and their laws protecting citizens from hate crimes. The protections cover religious worship, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability status, political affiliation, and age. Not all of these groups are covered by the Fourteenth Amendment (The Equal Protections Clause), so discrimination on the basis of some of them is not a federal cause of action under the Constitution. This is where the states have the chance to step up and fill in the gaps.

Here are four states that absolutely did not do that.

Georgia

With Black people making up 33% of its constituents, but only 25% of its legislature, Georgia’s lack of added hate crime protections on the basis of race starts to make a little more sense. Underrepresented portions of the population simply don’t have the same chance at legal protection and recourse as accurately represented groups, and Georgia is a shining example of that phenomenon.

Indiana

Next up is Indiana, where, like Georgia, there are zero protections for the aforementioned groups of people. It’s not exactly a shock in a state where (as of 2015) 72% of the population is Christian and 84% of the state’s lawmakers belong to some branch of Christianity.

Bonus: Indiana also has a statewide abortion ban, with exceptions only when the life of the fetus or pregnant person is at risk.

Utah

Utah has a jarring discrepancy in gender representation among its lawmakers, with a whopping 76% of the legislature being male. Another state with limited religious diversity (only this time Christians are the minority), Utah also has no hate crime laws offering protection on the basis of religion. However, with 11% of its lawmakers belonging to the Baby Boomer generation, you’d think Utah might enact some protections for the elderly.

Wyoming

Wyoming is a bit vague on its abortion laws, using the word “viability” rather than a hard timeline after which point abortion becomes illegal, but it’s very sure about one thing: absolutely no one needs governmental safeguards against hate crimes.

(featured image: Getty Images)


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Scout (she/her/hers) is a freelance news writer for The Mary Sue. When not scrolling Twitter, she's thinking about scrolling Twitter. She likes short walks on the beach, glitter pens, and burnt coffee. She does not read the comments.