Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people looking for the most legal equality can find it in the U.K. The country ranked highest among those providing legal protection for LGBT people, according to the 2015 Rainbow Europe Index, compiled by ILGA-Europe, an international human rights organization.
Of the 49 European countries measured, the U.K. scored the highest, with 86 percent, followed by Belgium, with 83 percent, and Malta, with 79 percent. The index measures the countries against 48 criteria such as marriage equality, employment discrimination protection and hate crime laws.
“We witnessed several countries making historic strides, while others have stalled in terms of their equality development.” said Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, in a statement. “The vital ingredient, present in so many of the countries who have climbed in our Rainbow Map rankings, was unshakable leadership from political figures and activist leaders, often in challenging contexts.”
Malta was new to the top three this year, rising eight places from last year due to the passage of constitutional changes that protect people from gender identity discrimination. Though the U.K. is the top-ranking nation, if Scotland were taken separately, it would rank even higher, with 92 percent, due to the passage of same-sex marriage laws in the country last year, according to STV News.
On the other end of the spectrum, Azerbaijan ranked the lowest, with 5 percent, followed by Russia, with 8 percent, and Armenia, with 9 percent. As a whole, the ranked European countries scored an average of 42 percent against the benchmark.
View the full index here and the ranking list below: