Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh signed an executive order placing LGBTQ-owned businesses into the city's supplier diversity program, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“Baltimore is an inclusive city and is made more vibrant by the diversity of our residents,” Pugh said in a news release.
The move made Baltimore the largest city to include LGBTQ-owned businesses in a diversity program, Jonathan D. Lovitz, senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, told the Sun.
“She [Pugh] clearly recognizes the importance of including the LGBT business community (and the $1.7 TRILLION we add to the [national] economy every year) in the city’s economic development plan,” Lovitz said in a statement to the newspaper.
What is the diversity supplier program?
The diversity supplier program is designed to encourage the city's use of businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by minorities, women, veterans, and those with disabilities. It also ensures that the companies receive a certain percentage of the product supply or service contracts for the city.
“By including the LGBTQ community in our supplier diversity programs, the city and the broader community are the real beneficiaries of their tremendous skills, talents, innovations and expertise,” Pugh added. “This is what a 21st century city should be about — encouraging the best ideas, approaches and capabilities and allowing them to succeed for the benefit of us all.”
The measure "reflects the Mayor’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in all areas of Baltimore City, including the marketplace," the city said in a news release.
Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey have similar diversity program orders.
Lovitz told the Sun that he expects the move to prompt other cities to expand their programs.