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More than 900 companies are now part of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce's program to certify their ownership as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to Justin Nelson, president and co-founder of the group, which released the tally last week. That's up from about 300 in 2012.
“Corporate America is saying ‘We want to do business with you — not despite the fact that you’re LGBT but because you’re LGBT,’” Nelson said. “Twenty years ago, it was enough to sponsor a pride parade. It’s not enough anymore.”
Companies have been broadening their diversity policies even as U.S. lawmakers have been deadlocked on issues such as gay rights and equal pay. Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., which have helped LGBT groups fight state laws seen as hostile to their civil rights, also are putting those priorities into purchasing requirements.
LGBT certification mimics the process used by companies to certify women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and other groups, Nelson said. A company must be 51 percent-owned and controlled by an LGBT owner or owners. The NGLCC was formed in 2002 with partners such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and American Express Co., and the certification program started in 2004.
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