November 7, 2019

Push to Certify LGBT-Owned Businesses Gets Messy

By MATT TRACY

Out gay Bronx City Councilmember Ritchie Torres remains confident that his bill authorizing the city to certify LGBTQ small business owners will get a hearing by next year, despite concerns raised about possible misinformation regarding the measure and separate questions raised by out gay Speaker Corey Johnson about what authority the city has, under state law, to do anything to help such businesses beyond simply certifying them.

It has been more than eight months since the sunny morning in late February when Torres introduced the bill, which would require the Department of Small Business Services to certify LGBTQ-owned businesses, publish a directory of those businesses, and offer business owners education and other resources. The idea for such a bill, Torres said, originated during Pride season in June of 2018 when National Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Jonathan Lovitz pressed him on the need for a certification program for LGBTQ-owned small businesses.