Out US Rep. Torres to Reintroduce Bill for Data Collection of LGBTQ-Owned Businesses

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday March 4, 2021

Saying the legislation is "a natural complement to the Equality Act," out U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York announced that he would reintroduce a bill that would require data collection about LGBTQ-owned businesses, NBC News reports.

Torres "told NBC News that the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act will amend part of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act," the report said.

That law "requires financial institutions to collect data on credit applications submitted by minority- and women-owned small businesses. Torres' bill would require data collection on LGBTQ-owned businesses as well."

"LGBTQ business owners add more than $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy every year," NBC News noted, and are a powerful force for job creation.

The Equality Act, which the House passed on Feb. 25, offers protections to LGTBQ Americans in the area of credit, as well as housing, education and other aspects of everyday life. However, Torres said, those credit protections amount to "a floor, rather than a ceiling."

Torres, who NBC noted is the first out African American-Latinx man to be elected to the House, recalled his credentials in the area of business matters, pointing to policies he helped usher in as a member of the New York City Council.

"I partnered with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce to persuade America's largest city to adopt a certification program for LGBTQ enterprises," Torres noted.

That program "made LGBTQ businesses eligible for $25 billion in contracts and other benefits offered to other minority- and women-owned businesses," NBC News explained.

California Rep. Harley Rouda initially introduced the bill, but Rouda lost his seat in the last election.

Now Torres has taken up the baton because, he said, "Transparency will strengthen the incentive for the financial community to extend capital to LGBTQ businesses."

"Wall Street loves to extol the virtues of diversity, Torres added, "but we are asking Wall Street to put its money where its mouth is."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.