Gay for City Pay?

City Hall discusses contract set-asides for gay businesses

Thanks to a unanimously approved ordinance, the city of Chicago will set aside contracts for businesses owned by women and ethnic minorities until 2015. However, Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) would like to extend the ordinance to another minority: LGBT residents.

According to the ordinance, 24 percent of the city's construction contracts are ear-marked for minority-owned firms, and 4 percent must go to businesses owned by women.

Tunney, Chicago's first openly gay alderman, asked if contract set-asides should also be established for businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people during a budget committee hearing on Tuesday.

Tunney wanted to know if any other local government has a "category" that defines "LGBT as a qualified minority,"  the Sun-Times reports.

Corporation Counsel Mara Georges did not know of any such category but said the topic was open to discussion.

"We are certainly happy to talk to you about it and whether that’s something we should attempt to pursue," Georges said.

Tunney had raised the question once before in 2003.

"All I'm asking is just to explore this as we move forward with making it an even better ordinance. ... We're looking to do more research within the community about quantifiable discrimination in terms of access to credit and financial issues ... to see whether or not, at a future date, categories within the LGBT community might be eligible," said Tunney.

The alderman admits though that he doesn't know how someone could prove they were gay in order to qualify.

Matt Bartosik is a "between blogs" blogger.

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