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An LGBTQ business certification program created in 2022 by executive order has been codified into state law under bipartisan legislation signed this week. 

Certification, which is free of charge, expands access to contracting opportunities and enables businesses to proudly identify as LGBTQ+-owned in their advertising. To date, the Department of Treasury has certified 141 LBGTQ+ businesses across New Jersey. 

The signing of the legislation on Wednesday ensures the LGBTQ+ certification program continues after Gov. Phil Murphy’s term ends in January of 2026. 

“LGBTQ+ business owners are critical to the Garden State and our economy, and I am honored to support endeavors that uplift underrepresented communities and embrace authenticity,” Murphy said. “By codifying this certification program in statute, we ensure that the opportunity to proudly identify as an LGBTQ+-owned business will last for many years to come.” 

Eligibility for LGBTQ+ certification requires that the business be at least 51% LGBTQ+ owned and controlled. Certification is valid for five years, at which point the business must reapply for certification ahead of the expiration date. 

The LGBTQ+ certification program aligns with the state’s longstanding efforts to boost local economies, promote equal opportunity, and provide supports and protections to New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ community, state officials said. 

“Treasury is proud to play a role in elevating LGBTQ-owned businesses, as well as small, minority, women, and veteran-owned enterprises that help make up the backbone of our economy,” said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. 

Certification programs are also in place for small, minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and disabled-veteran-owned businesses. 

NJBIA supported the legislation, S-1313/A-3330, whose primary sponsors were Senators Nellie Pou (D-35) and M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Assembly members Benjie E. Wimberly (D-35), Sterley S. Stanley (D-18), and Donald A. Guardian (R-2). 

“The codification of Executive Order 295 is not just a legal step, but a societal victory for LGBTQ+ businesses, granting them recognition they’ve long deserved,” said Senate Majority Leader Ruiz. “This certification parallels the support extended to minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned enterprises, offering equal footing for growth and access to vital resources.”  

“Being a member of the LGBTQ community has not always been celebrated or recognized and I lived this experience personally,” said Guardian. “This law cements the state’s certification program for LGBTQIA-owned businesses, providing legitimacy and visibility. Only a state law can bring the members of the LGBTQ community the peace of mind and security that they so deserve and have earned.” 

For more information about the state certification program for small businesses and enterprises owned by minority, women, veteran and LGBTQ+ businesspeople, go to the Department of Treasury’s website here.