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GOP Massachusetts Governor Orders Nation’s First Statewide LGBT Affirmative Action Program For Contractors

Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker (R) is the first state leader to issue an executive order that mandates the commonwealth alter its Supplier Diversity Program (SDP) to include LGBT-owned businesses along with those owned by other minority groups.

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) said Baker’s order is a “precedent-setting opportunity for tens of thousands of LGBT business owners” – one that will allow LGBT-owned businesses to be added to the state’s SDP alongside women and minority-owned businesses.

The executive order also now includes businesses owned by disabled individuals and veterans.

According to NGLCC, “For LGBT citizens in Massachusetts, this policy provides fair and equal access to business contracting opportunities that cultivate innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth throughout the Commonwealth.”

“Nothing says ‘The Spirit of America’ like an equal seat at the table for every business owner who wants one,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “Massachusetts continues its tradition as a leader in LGBT rights by living up to its slogan and creating greater access to the American Dream. We thank Governor Baker’s administration for their commitment to the LGBT community in Massachusetts.”

In a press release, Baker – who in 2010 told the Boston Globe he was “to the left of Barack Obama” on social issues – stated, “We are committed to ensuring diversity as the state engages business suppliers and contractors and are excited about this opportunity to include LGBT, disability and veteran business owners in the state’s network and procurement chain.”

NGLCC estimates about 21,000 LGBT-owned businesses in Massachusetts. Prior to Baker’s executive order for his state, only the California Public Utilities Commission and several local county and city governments reportedly made the move to include certified LGBT businesses in its supplier programs.

“This is a huge win for LGBT owned businesses that deserve equal opportunities to bid on contracts with the Commonwealth,” said Sam McClure, senior vice president at NGLCC and one of the architects of the affirmative action supplier initiative. “We are reminded to harness the momentum of this victory to keep fighting for equal dignity and respect for all LGBT citizens as we advocate for similar intentional inclusion orders from coast to coast.”

“This historic precedent will offer other states—and the entire federal government—a replicable framework to promote the intentional inclusion of certified LGBT Business Enterprises into their procurement and contracting codes,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell. “As we saw with the over 200% increase in LGBTBE certifications following California’s AB1678 mandate, we expect a major increase in applications for job-creating, economy-innovating LGBT businesses throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

However, Baker’s executive order was criticized by Brian Camenker, executive director of MassResistance, a pro-family organization in the state.

“Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s order including homosexual owned businesses in Massachusetts’s Supplier Diversity Program is just one more example of our government being used to promote a narrow ideological agenda at the expense of the taxpayers,” Camenker told CNSNews.com. “Even his far-left predecessor, Deval Patrick, did not go this far.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – which provides ratings on the Corporate Equality Index – announced that use of certified LGBT suppliers would become a formally scored part of the index as of 2012.

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