U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) are introducing the bicameral LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act. Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau clarified that the prohibition against sex discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) includes sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination, consistent with the Supreme Court’s landmark 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act would help enforce fair lending requirements and further protect the approximately 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses across the nation from this type of lending discrimination by requiring financial institutions to collect data on the self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity of business owners. This needed change would help ensure the economic development needs of the LGBTQ community are being met and that LGBTQ-owned businesses are treated fairly when seeking access to capital and credit. This bill is led by Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) in the House of Representatives and passed in 2021.
“LGBTQ business owners are an important and vibrant part of our economy and 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 put an end to discriminatory practices against LGBTQ business owners. This bill has passed the House and I encourage the Senate to take this up swiftly and pass it into law.”
“Though we have made strides of progress in the past few years, the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination that has a significant impact on the community’s financial well-being,” said Senator Padilla. “LGBTQ+ small businesses contribute immensely to our communities and deserve equitable access to the resources they need to continue to grow. I am co-leading the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act with Senator Gillibrand to ensure that financial institutions collect self-identified data from LGBTQ+ business owners so that we can better provide the resources they need to thrive.”
The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act has two key provisions:
Adds a definition for businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals to the ECOA statute, which currently collects data on applications for credit for women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.
Amends the ECOA statute to require financial institutions to collect the self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity of the principal owners of small businesses, in addition to their sex, 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, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Out Leadership, PFLAG National, and SAGE.