Legislation to expand access to innovation programs for small businesses


WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) introduce the bicameral LGBTQ Business Credit Enforcement and Investment Act.

Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau clarified that the prohibition of sex discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on gender identity, consistent with the landmark 2020 Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia.

the LGBTQ Business Credit Enforcement and Investment Act would help enforce fair lending requirements and further protect the approximately 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses across the country from this type of lending discrimination by requiring financial institutions to collect data on lending sexual orientation and self-identified gender identity of business owners.

This needed change would help ensure that the economic development needs of the LGBTQ community are met and that LGBTQ-owned businesses are treated fairly when seeking access to capital and credit. This bill is led by Congressman Ritchie Torres (DN.Y.-15) in the House of Representatives and passed in 2021.

“Although we have made great strides over the past few years, the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination that has a significant impact on the financial well-being of the community,” said Senator Padilla. “LGBTQ+ small businesses contribute enormously to our communities and deserve equitable access to the resources they need to continue to grow. I co-lead the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act with Senator Gillibrand to ensure financial institutions collect self-identified data from LGBTQ+ business owners so we can better provide the resources they need to thrive .

“LGBTQ business owners are an important and vibrant part of our economy and our communities, and our laws should reflect that,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act would strengthen and diversify the American economy, while helping to end discriminatory practices against LGBTQ business owners. This bill has been passed by the House and I encourage the Senate to quickly take it up and enact it.

the LGBTQ Business Credit Enforcement and Investment Act has two key provisions:

  1. Adds a definition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ)-owned businesses to the ECOA Act, which currently collects credit application data for women, minorities, and small businesses.
  1. Amends the ECOA statute to require financial institutions to collect the self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity of primary small business owners, in addition to their gender, race, and ethnicity.

This bill is supported by the Center for American Progress, Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Center for Transgender Equality, Out Leadership, National PFLAG and SAGE.


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