Charlie Baker

Gov. Charlie Baker

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced today (Tuesday, Nov. 3), that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, under the leadership of Gov. Charlie Baker, has become the first state in the nation to issue an executive order including “certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) in contracting and procurement opportunities alongside women and minority owned businesses.”

The executive order means that LGBT people in Massachusetts have “fair and equal access to business contracting opportunities that cultivate innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth throughout the commonwealth,” according to the Chamber’s announcement,

NGLCC co-founder and President Justin Nelson said that through this order “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 Gov. Baker’s administration for their commitment to the LGBT community in Massachusetts.”

Nelson added, “LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity means that there will be greater LGBT business visibility across Massachusetts. Economic visibility, just like social visibility, is essential in building a diverse and inclusive society.”

He followed up by calling on “leaders in states with large LGBT business populations, like New York, Illinois and others” to follow Baker’s lead.

Nelson said the new policy would directly impact an estimated 21,000 LGBT-owned businesses in Massachusetts. Prior to this move by Baker, only the California Public Utilities Commission and several municipal governments — including Essex County, N.J., and Cleveland, Ohio — touted the intentional inclusion of certified LGBT business enterprises.  This executive order is the only statewide initiative of its kind.