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by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2016
John H. Graham IV at ASAE's opening general session
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The board of the American Society of Association Executives has adopted an advocacy and policy model for diversity and inclusion, and approved new contract language for inclusion for future events.

Reacting to controversial laws that have been enacted in states such as North Carolina and Mississippi, the policy aims to help ASAE determine what's best for the organization and its members. A pilot program is being run to test the policy in fiscal year 2017. The board also approved an antidiscrimination clause for future venue contracts.

"Currently we have no contracts in those states that have those laws," said ASAE president/CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, speaking on the topic at ASAE's annual meeting, held in Salt Lake City in August. "We would defer to those states that don't have those laws. We probably would not hold a meeting in North Carolina."

In related news, the LGBT Meeting Planners Association, serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, launched last month. The organization aims to serve planners who identify as LGBT and those who plan events for LGBT attendees. An inaugural conference is being planned for fall 2017 in Atlantic City focusing on best practices and more.

"Major LGBT groups have meeting planners, most of whom are LGBT, but a few are not," noted David Jeffreys of Philadelphia's Altus Agency, who founded the group. "These meetings and events are totally underserved in knowledge and resources."