Governor Murphy signs executive order to assist LGBTQ business owners 

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NJ Gov. Phil Murphy at 2018 press conference in Newark
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy at 2018 press conference in Newark file photo

New Jersey is the fourth state in the nation to recognize LGBTQ-owned businesses in the state’s procurement stream

Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order today calling for the inclusion of certified New Jersey LGBT+ owned and operated businesses to be elevated among the State’s pool of suppliers to bid on public projects. 

“Enabling the certification of businesses as LGBTQ-owned will encourage the success of these enterprises by enhancing their visibility, providing them with an extra layer of authenticity in their business ventures, and demonstrating that they are welcome and vital participants in our economy,” said Governor Murphy. 

“New Jersey has once again proven itself to be a proud ally of the LGBT community. Including LGBT-owned businesses in Treasury’s Uniform Certification System, it will allow more equitable participation for these businesses in the state’s economic initiatives and hopefully attract new LGBT businesses to relocate to New Jersey,” said Augusto Penaranda, New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce (NJPCC) Executive Director.

“LGBT entrepreneurs are statistically very likely to encounter a number of socioeconomic disadvantages when starting their own business. Thanks to Governor Murphy’s leadership, LGBT-owned businesses in New Jersey will now be included in the state’s existing M/WBE program, providing them with more equitable access to bids and contracts that could completely change the trajectory of their companies.” said NJPCC President, Stephen Blazejewski. 

The Governor commemorated the moment by hosting a public signing event at Union Coffee House in Lambertville, on Tuesday afternoon, May 3. Union Coffee House is owned and operated by Carolyn Gabois, a NJPCC member who proudly identifies as LGBTQ. Also in attendance were State Treasurer Liz Muoio, Lambertville’s gay Mayor Andrew Nowick, Christian Fuscarino of Garden State Equality, and NJPPC’s Blazejewski and Penaranda.

The executive order will ensure that New Jersey stays committed to diversifying its economic landscape said the NJPCC in a press release. New Jersey has been a leader among states extending additional equal rights to the LGBTQ community. Nationally, LGBT-owned businesses contribute $1.7 trillion dollars into the U.S. economy.

“We couldn’t agree more with Governor Murphy’s statement in 2018 that ‘Social progress cannot be achieved without economic progress,’” said National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NJLCC) founder and President Justin Nelson. “Now, New Jersey continues its tradition as a leader in LGBT rights by living up to its promise and creating greater access to the American Dream. We thank Governor Murphy’s administration for their commitment to the LGBT community — and to all business owners — throughout New Jersey. This victory for inclusivity has once again proved our core values that ‘diversity is good for business’ and that ‘if you can buy it, a certified LGBT-owned business can supply it.’ We are excited to see LGBTBEs in every field, from construction to catering and everything in between, help grow the economy of New Jersey and beyond.” 

The NJPCC along with the NGLCC will continue to work with the New Jersey Department of the Treasury to ensure successful implementation of this certification initiative and provide assistance to LGBTQ business owners in the state who are looking to become certified. 

“The addition of the great State of New Jersey to the ever-growing list of public sector economies will offer other states — and the entire federal government — more precedent to promote the intentional inclusion of Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® companies into their own procurement and contracting codes,” said NJLCC CEO Chance Mitchell.  “This victory for inclusion reflects a growing trend in the northeast for collaboration between NGLCC, our local affiliates, and our government partners.”

“New Jersey’s policy would not be possible today with the recent precedents we established in partnership with the Independence Business Alliance adding LGBTBEs statewide in Pennsylvania, nglccNY adding LGBTBEs in New York City, and the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce advancing LGBTBE inclusion in Baltimore and in measures currently before the [Maryland] state legislature. As we saw with the over 200% increase in Certified LGBTBE® designations following California’s AB1678 mandate, we expect a major increase in applications for job-creating, economy-innovating LGBT businesses throughout the State of New Jersey,” said the NGLCC

LGBTQ business owners wishing to begin the certification can find information and an application at my.nglcc.org.