Mass. Gov. Mandates Nation's First Affirmative Action Program for LGBT Contractors

By Zachary Leshin | November 12, 2015 | 5:02 PM EST


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. (AP photo)

( – Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker issued an executive order last week mandating that the state add lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-owned businesses to its Supplier Diversity Program (SDP). 

Baker touted the "first-in-the-nation LGBT-owned business certification partnership" between the state and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

The SDP was established in 2010 to promote affirmative action by including minority- and women-owned businesses in public contracting.

In fiscal year 2014, the commonwealth awarded $991.5 million in total combined spending through the program’s Supplier Diversity Office.

In addition to adding businesses run by veterans and the disabled to the SDP list of approved contractors, LGBT-owned enterprises will also qualify for the program if they are certified by the NGLCC.

“Only an inclusive marketplace that offers competitive opportunity for businesses as diverse as the people of this Commonwealth can promote economic prosperity for all,” the executive order 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,” Baker, who was elected governor in 2014, said in a press release

“The Lieutenant Governor and I are proud to uphold our promise to expand opportunities for diverse and small businesses as our administration works to extend economic prosperity to more communities throughout the Commonwealth,” continued Baker.

Baker’s executive order was praised by Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the NGLCC, who said: “We thank Governor Baker and his administration for their commitment to the LGBT community in Massachusetts.

“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.

“Governor Baker’s administration recognizes what over 1/3 of the Fortune 500 has already – including opportunities for all businesses, including those owned by LGBT people, is good for business. We now call upon leaders in other states to follow the precedent set by Massachusetts to create equal business opportunities for LGBT citizens nationwide.”

However, the executive order was criticized by Brian Camenker, executive director of MassResistance, a Massachusetts-based pro-family activist organization.

“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 said in response to a question from asking him for MassResistance’s official position regarding the governor’s executive order.

“Even his far-left predecessor, Deval Patrick, did not go this far,” he added.

“When Baker told the Boston Globe that he was ‘to the left of Barack Obama on social issues’ a lot of people didn’t take him seriously. They certainly do now.”

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