The mayor of Nashville has signed an executive order designed to help LGBTI-owned businesses.
Mayor David Briley’s order will see LGBTI-run businesses as a recognized category for Metro procurement.
The order will ‘reflect the diversity of Nashville in its hiring practices, contracting and economic development opportunities through the delivery of equitable programs, services and policies,’ Briley said.
The move makes Nashville the first city in the US South to recognize LGBTI-owned businesses in such a way.
As of today, Nashville is the first city in the South to include #LGBT-owned businesses as a recognized category for Metro procurement. This executive order reaffirms the fact that no matter who you love or how you identify, Nashville is a welcoming place to live and do business. pic.twitter.com/AnDqpcfpRc
— Mayor David Briley (@MayorBriley) February 11, 2019
‘An important step towards better equity for LGBT-owned businesses’
The move comes after sweeping changes were made to the city’s business sector more inclusive following criticisms that the procurement standards were not inclusive enough for women- and minority-owned businesses.
The executive order allows businesses to identify as being LGBTI-owned during the procurment process, and allows companies to be recognized with LGBTI business enterprise certification from the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
It will also allow Metro to track the number of LGBTI-run businesses receiving city contracts, and extends programs offered to minority or women-owned businesses to the LGBTI-run companies, according to the Nashville Business Journal.
‘It’s my job as mayor to make sure that everyone in our city, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has equal access to economic opportunities,’ Briley said in a statement.
‘Today, we’ve taken an important step towards better equity for LGBT-owned businesses in Nashville. I am proud to sign this executive order and look forward to seeing these Nashville businesses flourish.’
‘The business of doing what’s best for its people’
John Lovitz, senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, praised the move as bringing Nashville in line with other cities which have adopted similar policies.
‘The best functioning cities are the ones that treat themselves like a business that is in the business of doing what’s best for its people,’ Lovitz said.
‘Nashville is just replicating the best practices of those large corporations around the region. Supplier diversity brings the best and the brightest to the table.’
He continued: “Not only are you the first city in the South, you’re beating major places like New York, Atlanta, Orlando, and Los Angeles, where you would have thought LGBT businesses would be included years ago,’ he added.
It remains to be seen if the mayor’s executive order will experience pushback from Tennessee’s conservative political bodies.
It comes in the same month that Republican lawmakers reintroduced the Natural Marriage Defense Act.
The bill states that the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling which legalized same-sex marriage in the US is null and void in Tennessee.
The bill has failed to pass twice before, in 2016 and 2017. Officials estimate it could cost the state over $9 billion in federal funding.