By JOHN VERHOVEK, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Calling him a “champion for inclusion,” the national chamber of commerce representing LGBTQ business announced Monday that it is backing former Vice President Joe Biden, just the second presidential endorsement in the group’s over 20-year history.
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), which describes itself as the “only national advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for the LGBT business community,” cited Biden’s support for LGBTQ rights during the Obama administration, and his push to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity across many facets of American society, through the U.S. Congress, as part of the rationale for their public endorsement.
“We need to elect a president with a commitment to LGBTQ equality, ending racism and racial violence, promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship, and ensuring a safe and equitable society for every American. Joe Biden is that candidate,” NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson wrote in a statement provided to ABC News.
The group also praised Biden’s economic agenda and highlighted the need to provide support to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Our campaign is deeply honored to receive the endorsement of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. LGBTQ+ businesses add $1.7 trillion to the economy each year, making LGBTQ+ business owners central to Vice President Biden’s plans to build a stronger, more equitable economy, promote entrepreneurship, tackle structural racism, fight systemic injustice, and end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people once and for all,” Reggie Greer, the Biden campaign’s LGBTQ+ Vote director, wrote in a statement reacting to the endorsement.
“The stakes have never been so high for the future of our country and the LGBT business community. Joe Biden is the champion our businesses and our families need to thrive,” NGLCC Co-Founder and CEO Chance Mitchell added.
The NGLCC backed then-Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, its first official presidential endorsement since its founding.
The endorsement comes as President Donald Trump’s campaign has attempted to up its outreach to the LGBTQ community, launching a “Trump Pride” coalition last week headed by Richard Grenell, the former acting director of U.S. national intelligence, who is openly gay and spoke at the Republican National Convention last week, claiming that Trump is the “most pro-gay president in American history.”
In a video released earlier this month by the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s most prominent GOP organization representing LGBTQ Americans, Grenell asserted that Trump “is the most pro-gay president in American history,” a claim undercut by several policies he has implemented during his time in office, including a ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military.
The Biden campaign launched “Out for Biden,” a national get-out-the-vote initiative aimed at turning out LGBTQ voters, in early June. A number of prominent LGBTQ lawmakers, including Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids and Virginia state Del. Danica Roem are involved in the effort.
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