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Tunney opens talk on LGBT set-aside option

Daley offers support

Chicago, IL — In Wednesday's Chicago City Council Budget Committee meeting to extend the women and minority owned business set-aside ordinance for construction contracts, openly gay 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney again suggested that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered owned businesses be included. Tunney had offered this addition several years ago, but at that time it was quickly dropped.

Alderman Tom Tunney :: jay shaff
Alderman Tom Tunney 
credit :: jay shaff
"We know we've been disadvantaged," said Tunney who is also a longtime Chicago business owner. "But, there are programs for women already. And the perception is this would only enhance gay white males. That's why there's not consensus within our community."

In a statement this afternoon, Mayor Richard M. Daley offered his support to the provision. "I think it's good. It helps small businesses. It helps businesses grow in the city, and that's what you want." While Daley has long enjoyed support from the LGBT community for his progressive stand on inclusion and protection issues, a comment on the Chicago Tribune's website by "DME" said of the Mayor's support: "Of course he's for it. All any of his cronies need to do to get a contract is act gay. This would be completely un-workable."

Tunney admits a problem for such a set-aside would be defining the parameters of qualifying a LGBT business. Blogs and comments posted on local news websites ranged from gay bashing hateful to supportive. Some questioned what disadvantage a gay firm might have which should warrant inclusion in the ordinance. 

Researching the set-aside, ChicagoPride.com hasn't located a local, state or federal government offering such a set-aside ordinance or law for LGBT businesses. 
 
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