Victory in the News


Dufty continues to retool mayoral campaign

Thu, Mar 24th 2011, 09:05

Shortly thereafter Dufty announced he was abandoning his self-imposed restriction to limit donations at $200 from only people who live and work in San Francisco. That led to his gaining the endorsement last weekend of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, as the Bay Area Reporter reported on its website Saturday.

"Bevan is obviously highly qualified to lead San Francisco, and his passion for the city is well-known. He's focused on one goal – improving the lives of all San Franciscans through government that works," stated Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, in officially announcing the endorsement this week. "Bevan's commitment to city neighborhoods is legendary, and as a parent he's focused on making sure San Francisco's future is even brighter than its illustrious past."

Pushing to see Dufty receive the endorsement were a trio of lesbian friends: former San Francisco Supervisor Leslie Katz, who sits on the Victory campaign board, and Joyce Newstat and Laura Spanjian, who helped organize the fund's 2009 annual meeting in San Francisco. Newstat also sits on the fund's Leadership Institute board of directors.

Dufty, who attended the national group's training for candidates last month in Las Vegas, was in Washington, D.C. last weekend to attend the fund's 20th anniversary brunch and met with its executive committee about being endorsed. He is hoping it will give him the same boost in attracting financial support nationally as Annise Parker saw when she first ran for mayor of Houston two years ago, becoming that city's first lesbian mayor.

"The Victory Fund played a very important role of raising national visibility about her campaign and providing ongoing counsel and support," said Dufty. "I called the Victory Fund endorsement a tough love endorsement because they carefully assess a candidate's viability. They were direct with me that I had made some decisions about my campaign that were making good statements but the best statement I could make was to win this election."

http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=5577


SAN FRANCISCO: Victory Fund Endorses Supervisor Bevan Dufty For Mayor

Wed, Mar 23rd 2011, 17:23

Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty has picked up the endorsement of the Victory Fund in his bid to become mayor. That's a critical development for Dufty, who faces a mayoral field cluttered with almost two dozen declared candidates. SF Weekly reports:

The Victory Fund's endorsement signals a huge shift for Dufty's campaign, political consultants said. The group is known for its fund-raising prowess and it has a strong national donor network that helped Annise Parker get elected as the first openly gay mayor in Houston, Texas. And if it can help Houston elect a gay mayor, than San Francisco should be a no-brainer. "He can raise significant money from that community," said Jim Ross, a local campaign consultant. "This is really good." Ross pointed out that Dufty remains one of the most popular politicians, and comes from the largest voting district, which puts him in a strong position. More importantly, he can now access money from LGBT communities across the nation, which will help him make a comeback in this race.

San Francisco's mayor will be chosen by a ranked-choice method: "Under ranked-choice voting, voters list their first, second and third choices. If no candidate wins more than half the vote, last-place candidates are eliminated and second- and third-place votes from those ballots are redistributed until someone wins a majority." Confusing!

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/03/san-francisco-victory-fund-endorses.html


Victory Fund: Dufty for SF Mayor

Wed, Mar 23rd 2011, 16:25

Bevan Dufty's mayoral aspirations were recently in trouble, but an endorsement from the Victory Fund may help the former city supervisor became San Francisco's first openly gay mayor.

The Victory Fund, which works to elect LGBT candidates to higher office and helped lesbian Annise Parker became mayor of Houston, recently announced their endorsement of Dufty for mayor. Edwin Lee is San Francisco's current mayor, but Lee is serving out the term of Gavin Newsom, elected last year as California's lieutenant governor. A mayoral election will take place in November — Lee will not be one of the people running.

The San Francisco Weekly reports that the Victory Fund endorsement will help Dufty increase donors to his campaign. "Dufty remains one of the most popular politicians, and comes from the largest voting district, which puts him in a strong position," reports the Weekly. "More importantly, he can now access money from LGBT communities across the nation, which will help him make a comeback in this race."

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/03/23/Victory_Fund_Dufty_for_SF_Mayor/


Bevan Dufty: Is He Making a Comeback in the Mayor's Race?

Wed, Mar 23rd 2011, 15:31

In his effort to reboot his collapsing campaign, which he is now calling Dufty 2.0., the former supervisor zeroed-in on just the right target.

Yesterday, he picked up the endorsement of the Victory Fund, a national gay and lesbian organization that helped get the first openly gay mayor elected in Houston, Texas. 

What this really means for Dufty is that he just might be back in the race -- financially speaking.

It was Dufty's self-imposed campaign cap -- which restricted him to $200 per donor -- that was setting him back, despite the fact that he had been collecting cash for more than two years.

The most recent campaign finance statements show that Dufty had raised only $108,305, as of December, although he said last month he had $225,000 in the bank. Still, that's weak compared to a less recognizable name like Joana Rees, who has managed to rake in more than $150,000 in the four months of her candidacy. 

The Victory Fund's endorsement signals a huge shift for Dufty's campaign, political consultants said. The group is known for its fund-raising prowess and it has a strong national donor network that helped Annise Parker get elected as the first openly gay mayor in Houston, Texas.

And if it can help Houston elect a gay mayor, than San Francisco should be a no-brainer.

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/03/bevan_dufty_victory_fund.php


Cicilline Brunches With Victory Fund

Mon, Mar 21st 2011, 15:26

As a freshman member of the Rhode Island legislature in the mid 1990s, David Cicilline, now the fourth openly gay member of Congress, was given advice by colleagues about how to deal with virulently antigay forces who would spew their rhetoric for hours at committee meetings: "Let the crazies be crazy."

"But I was determined — and every nutty, unproven, mean-spirited, homophobic statement they made, I challenged," Cicilline told a crowd of about 1,200 people at the Washington Hilton Sunday. "The committee meeting dragged on for six hours, but no one left believing their arguments had an ounce of legitimacy. And for those watching and particularly for young LGBT kids, it made a difference."

Praised by event organizers for upping the percentage of openly gay congressional representatives by 33% (he joins Jared Polis of Colorado, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Barney Frank of Massachusetts), Cicilline was the keynote speaker at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund's National Champagne Brunch in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the group's 20th anniversary.

Cicilline, a cosponsor of House legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act introduced last week, called the Obama administration's February decision to no longer defend DOMA in court "a shining example of refusing to use the power of the presidency to sustain blatant discrimination against our community" and urged Congress to repeal the "horribly discriminatory law" it passed in 1996 (the Republican House leadership's position on defending DOMA in multiple lawsuits makes that a highly unlikely prospect in this term, though a Senate version of the bill introduced last week by California senator Dianne Feinstein was hailed by advocates as a breakthrough step forward).

"There's just so much more work ahead. Passing a fully inclusive ENDA is a top priority," Cicilline said, referring to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. "We need to wipe our laws clean of DOMA and treat all married couples equally. And we must gain the American right to sponsor our same-gender partners for immigration."

Speakers at the event included Victory Fund cofounders Vic Basile and Terry Bean; president and CEO Chuck Wolfe; Oregon secretary of state Kate Brown; Sherry Harris, the group's first endorsee, who won a Seattle city council race in 1991; and Chris Armstrong, the University of Michigan's gay student assembly president who rose to national prominence after the state's assistant attorney general attacked him for promoting a "radical homosexual agenda."

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/03/21/Cicilline_Headlines_Victory_Fund_National_Brunch/


Out Vote

Mon, Mar 21st 2011, 15:20

Since 1991 the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has propelled thousands of out LGBT candidates to electoral firsts at all levels of government. Based in Washington, D.C., the group provides financial and campaign support to candidates with the conviction that increasing the number of out elected officials improves the political climate for equality. “The Victory Fund gave me early support and mentoring that were crucial in my first run for state assembly and then for Congress,” says U.S. representative Tammy Baldwin. On the occasion of the group’s 20th anniversary, Baldwin and several other recipients of Victory Fund support spoke of their experiences in office and gave advice to aspiring candidates.

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. representative from Wisconsin

First political office held: Van Hise Middle School student council. “Our small group of sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders took on problems that many people either ignored or thought they just couldn’t change. I learned that the actions of a small group of people could make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.”



Advice for up-and-coming LGBT candidates: “I honestly believe that the vast majority of voters care much more about my positions on the issues that affect their lives than my sexual orientation. When I meet with constituents, I talk about our shared values: ensuring health care for all, creating jobs and growing a sustainable economy, protecting our environment, and supporting quality public education, among other things. I believe that my commitment to these causes is what my constituents care most about.”

David Cicilline 

U.S. representative from Rhode Island

First political office held: Narragansett High School class president.

Advice for up-and-coming LGBT candidates: “Be honest about who you are, recognize your talents, and fight hard to win. America needs you.”

Bonnie Dumanis 

San Diego County district attorney

First political office held: “The first leadership position I ever held was in high school when I was president of the United Synagogue Youth, an international group that brings Jewish teenagers closer to Judaism and Israel through learning and social interaction.”

Advice for up-and-coming LGBT candidates: “My advice to LGBT candidates is to be yourself, be authentic and hold your head up high.”

Annise Parker

Mayor of Houston

First political office held: Founding member of the first LGBT support group at Rice University in 1979.

Advice for up-and-coming LGBT candidates: “A favorite quote by Andre Gide: ‘It is better to be hated for what one is than loved for what one is not.”

http://www.advocate.com/Print_Issue/Advance/Out_Vote/


20 years of ‘Victory’

Mon, Mar 21st 2011, 11:48

Sometimes being conspicuous is a good thing.

It was for Sherry Harris, an electrical engineer in Seattle who holds the record for being the first candidate ever endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that works to help LGBT candidates get elected to public office at all levels of government.

The group, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend with a Sunday brunch at the Hilton in Washington (go to victoryfund.org for details), helped Harris win a four-year term on Seattle City Council.

Harris, who’ll be in town this weekend to speak at the brunch, remembers that her involvement with the then-new fund in 1991, started innocuously.

She was in D.C. to meet with former U.S. Rep. Jolene Unsoeld (D-Wash.) and heard about the Fund through friends.

“Someone just told us about it, I’m not sure who,” Harris says. “But we went over to their offices. … They were going to be having an event while I was there and said, ‘Why don’t you come to this event?,’ and referred me to that. I was happy to hear about the organization but I wasn’t expecting anything.”

Harris was asked to speak that night and found herself with support. She says a “process” the Fund put her through — which it does to this day to vet candidates – was “more of a formality” in those early years.

On a mailing list sent to Fund supporters, Harris says her status as a black lesbian helped her stand out.

“I seemed to draw a lot of money,” she says. “I did very well. Back then there were almost no black women running. I think I stood out because I was so unusual.”

Though Harris served only one term — she lost her bid for a second — she is essential to the Victory Fund story. It, too, began somewhat innocuously.

Two gay political activists — Vic Basile and Terry Bean — had noticed that a group called Emily’s List had, since 1985, done wonders at helping female candidates campaign competitively against better-funded male opponents by establishing a network of donors who agreed to contribute at least $100 to two or more List-endorsed candidates. Basile and Bean wondered if the model could be adapted to help more gays and lesbians get into office. After researching the idea, they came to feel such an entity was desperately needed.

“I believe it helps change people’s opinions about members of our community and lets everybody else know there isn’t a special agenda, they have the same agenda,” says Chuck Wolfe, Victory Fund president. “They’re there working on what their constituents need. Their transportation needs, from fixing potholes to building a new highway connector. They’re there doing what everybody else is doing and the idea that they’re there and simply changing the fabric of leadership in their community has a huge advantage for us. It pays dividends in so many ways but more importantly, it lets everybody see that there’s no reason to be exclusionary in hiring practices, in the business sense. It has ramifications across sectors.”

The organization has grown enormously in the last two decades. Initially, the only employee was the first director, William Waybourn, a former Blade co-owner. About $30,000 was directed to candidates that first year. In recent years, more than $1 million has been given each year. The Fund now employees 21 full-time staff members and has endorsed 952 LGBT candidates over 20 years that has resulted in 637 wins. Last year was the organization’s most successful with 107 races won out of 167 endorsed.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), now in her seventh term in the House, credits the Fund for helping her achieve her goals.

“The Victory Fund’s early support and mentoring not only helped me get elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, but gave me the encouragement, skills and crucial financial backing to run for a seat in Congress,” Baldwin wrote in an e-mail. “By propelling openly LGBT candidates into office, the Victory Fund continues to change the face of American politics for the better.”

State Sen. Matt McCoy (D-Iowa) said in an e-mail that his years in office, aided by the Fund, have helped achieve pro-gay strides there.

“Iowa is well positioned on equality issues having adopted the non-discrimination act and applied this to [LGBT] citizens,” McCly wrote. “Iowa has also adopted anti-bullying legislation that bans school and cyber bullying based upon real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. I have had the privilege to serve while these progressive decisions were adopted and signed into law. I believe that having a visible, out gay state senator has positively impacted the public debate and ensured positive results.”

Harris, who enjoyed her time in politics but is now content in the private sector, agrees.

“It’s very important that we be open and show our presence in this country where there’s still discrimination and prejudice to this day,” she says. “It is very important for gay and lesbian candidates to run and to have people in these rooms speaking on our behalf. … It makes a profound difference when we have a seat at the table.”

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) first became a Victory Fund candidate in the early ‘00s when he ran successfully for mayor of Providence, R.I.

“They’ve done a spectacular job over the last 20 years to ensure members of our community are elected to office,” he says. “I’m a firm believer that one of the most powerful and effective ways we move forward is by having members of our community serving in elected office. There’s no question the Victory Fund has done it very successfully.”

Gay candidates sometimes seek help from the Fund; other times the Fund contacts them. Many candidates go through a four-day training program that’s held four times a year. Between 150 and 200 are trained each year.

Candidates are evaluated for their “viability” as opposed to “winability,” Wolfe says. He says the Fund looks for “reasonable investments” and potential leaders who’ll be “solid” once they’re in office.

Fund staff occasionally help closeted officials to come out in a planned, strategic way. The Fund made a “case study” video using gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) as an example.

A Victory Fund endorsement can mean direct cash, independent expenditures, bundled money, technical assistance, field work or staffing, depending on the needs of the candidate.

Additional anniversary brunches will be held in Houston (April 17), Sacramento, Calif. (Oct. 23) and New York (Sept. 18). A San Diego brunch was held in February. The Fund is based in Washington.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/03/17/20-years-of-%E2%80%98victory%E2%80%99/


EXCLUSIVE: Md. lawmaker comes out

Wed, Mar 9th 2011, 16:38

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund also praised Murphy’s announcement.

“It’s still a courageous thing for public officials who are gay or lesbian to serve openly and honestly, so we applaud Delegate Murphy’s decision,” said Denis Dison, Victory Fund’s vice president of communications. “As we’ve seen during the current debate over marriage, out lawmakers can have a tremendous impact on both their colleagues and their constituents, and the Maryland LGBT Caucus has certainly been at the center of this fight.

“With eight openly gay and lesbian members of the legislature, Maryland now has the largest LGBT caucus of state legislators in the country.”

Murphy has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2007. He was born in Washington, D.C., and attended American University and George Washington University.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/03/09/exclusive-md-lawmaker-comes-out/


Gay legislators having impact in marriage debates

Mon, Mar 7th 2011, 09:00

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which recruits and supports gay political candidates, the number of openly gay and lesbian legislators nationwide has increased from 44 in 2003, when it started counting, to 85.

Chuck Wolfe, the fund's president, said gay legislators were having an impact even in relatively conservative states where gay marriage has no short-term prospect of winning approval. He cited the example of Arkansas Rep. Kathy Webb, whose heartfelt arguments played a role in the rejection of a bill to bar gays from adopting or foster-parenting.

Gay lawmakers "are people, as opposed to issues," Wolfe said. "The impact of having one of your colleagues directly affected by the legislation on the table is very powerful."

http://ww2.ajcmobile.com/wap/news/text.jsp?sid=1001&nid=40883113&title=News&nstart=0&cid=3231&scid=0&from=&redir=&ith=-1&storytitle=Gay+legislators+having+impact+in+marriage+debates


Bevan Dufty scraps self-imposed campaign cap

Wed, Mar 2nd 2011, 08:41

The move also allows Dufty, the only openly gay candidate in the race, to accept contributions from supporters across the country. He is seeking the backing of the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

"The reality is he had friends in a lot of places that wanted to contribute ... that wanted to elect a gay candidate," said Dufty's new campaign manager, Michael Terris. "It made a lot more sense to welcome everybody into the fold then tell them they couldn't help."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cityinsider/detail?entry_id=84054


For First Time, White House Picks a Man to be Social Secretary

Fri, Feb 25th 2011, 17:08

Mr. Bernard has a long history working in the gay rights community. He has served on the board of A.N.G.L.E (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. He also worked on LGBT advisory committees of the Los Angelese County Sheriff, Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles mayor’s office.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/25/white-house-picks-a-man-for-social-secretary/?mod=google_news_blog


White House Taps Gay Man, Jeremy Bernard, for New Social Secretary

Fri, Feb 25th 2011, 15:54

"He previously served as a board member of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's LGBT Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Police LGBT Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee."

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/02/25/white-house-taps-first-openly-gay-man-as-new-social-secretary/


The White House Gets Its First Male Social Secretary

Fri, Feb 25th 2011, 15:49

A San Antonio, Tex., native, Bernard previously served as the White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities and a finance consultant for Obama's presidential campaign.

Bernard also will be the first openly gay White House social secretary, having been a board member of of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, as well as several LGBT advisory committees to Los Angeles government.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/02/the-white-house-gets-its-first-male-social-secretary/71723/


Obama Appoints Openly Gay Man as White House Social Secretary

Fri, Feb 25th 2011, 15:42

Bernard has also been active in gay rights causes, serving as a board member of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's LGBT Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Police LGBT Advisory Committee, and the Los Angeles Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee.  

http://www.nationaljournal.com/whitehouse/obama-appoints-openly-gay-man-as-white-house-social-secretary-20110225


Jeremy Bernard, former board member of gay Victory Fund, is new White House Social Secretary

Fri, Feb 25th 2011, 14:48

The White House today announced Jeremy Bernard has been named Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary.  He joins the White House staff from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where he serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador.  Prior to this role, he worked as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways.  We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House,” the President said.

“I am deeply humbled to join the White House staff as Social Secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role,” said Jeremy Bernard.  “I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead.”

“I look forward to working with Jeremy to continue the great work of the Social Office, from fun and educational student workshops to elegant State Dinners that welcome world leaders to the White House.  Jeremy’s creativity, perspective and skills will be a welcome addition to our East Wing team, as we showcase the White House and celebrating America’s arts and culture,” said Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.

“What stood out in Jeremy’s work at the National Endowment for the Humanities was his humor, good will, and high standard of professionalism,” said National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Bernard currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy of Paris.  He served as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2008 to 2010.  Previously, Bernard was a California Finance Consultant for the Obama for American campaign.  He was a Principal of B&G Associates from 2007 to 2009, Vice-President of Mapleton Investments from 1999 to 2006 and Director of Government Affairs of Falcon Cable TV from 1996 to 2006.  Appointed by President Clinton, Bernard served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2009.  He previously served as a board member of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.  He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's LGBT Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Police LGBT Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee.

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2011/02/jeremy-bernard-former-board-member-of-gay-victory-fund-is-new-white-house-social-secretary.html


Wash. State Senate Introduces Marriage Bill

Tue, Feb 15th 2011, 09:50

Monday's senate bill was introduced by gay state senator Ed Murray of Seattle, reports the Victory Fund's Gay Politics blog.

"Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy — except for the name ‘marriage,'" Murray said in a release. "The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step."

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/02/14/Wash_State_Senate_Introduces_Marriage_Bill/


I Advocate ... Joel Burns

Wed, Feb 9th 2011, 17:32

...The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. The Victory Fund and its research and education arm, the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute, arguably give you the most bang for your buck of any LGBT organization. Thanks in part to their financial and consulting resources, I became the first openly LGBT elected official in Fort Worth history. This support allowed me to speak up in the aftermath of the 2009 raid on Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge, to expand Fort Worth’s nondiscrimination ordinance, and to craft and pass a measure providing domestic-partner benefits for city employees. As a friend of mine, Houston councilwoman Sue Lovell, likes to say, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” The Victory Fund helps LGBT America secure that place at the table. VictoryFund.org

http://www.advocate.com/Politics/Politicians/I_Advocate_Joel_Burns/


S.F. Plans Gay Walk of Fame

Tue, Feb 8th 2011, 09:35

Dufty is running for mayor of San Francisco this year — he says he's raised $125,000 already and is preparing for a Victory Fund campaign training event in Las Vegas later this month.

"I got the biggest present when [state senator] Mark Leno decided not to run for mayor," Dufty says with a laugh. Aside from his LGBT voter base, Dufty is "working on building a base that includes the Westside, Republican voters, and the Chinese and Latino communities, and demonstrating my proven ability to build city services when our budget is challenging."

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/02/07/Dufty_on_SFs_Gay_Walk_of_Fame/


Out Md. Lawmakers Influence Marriage Debate

Tue, Feb 8th 2011, 09:28

The Victory Fund, which endorses out LGBT candidates for elected office, reports on the presence of a record seven out state legislators in Maryland as of this year, and what their advocacy and presence means for the marriage equality bill. One first-time sponsor of the bill, Del. Eric M. Bromwell, credited out lawmakers with influencing his support, according to the Maryland Gazette.

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/02/07/Out_Md_Lawmakers_Influence_Marriage_Debate/


Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund formally endorses Parker in Houston, Hightower in Arlington

Tue, Feb 1st 2011, 16:49

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Arlington City Council challenger Chris Hightower were among eight openly LGBT candidates who received formal endorsements from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today.

Parker was elected to a two-year term in 2009, making Houston the largest U.S. city with an openly LGBT mayor. Hightower is vying to become the first openly gay council member in Arlington’s history.

The Victory Fund has now endorsed 14 candidates in 2011, including three in Texas. Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns was the first candidate to receive the group’s backing this year.

From GayPolitics.com:

“We are proud to support Mayor Parker. Her success in Houston is proof of the remarkable talent and leadership LGBT Americans have to offer their communities as public servants,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Parker welcomed the Victory Fund’s backing.

“I am grateful for the early and strong support of the Victory Fund. The Victory Fund is more than just a force for LGBT equality – it educates and equips qualified candidates to excel in public service for the benefit of all whom they represent. I will use the Victory Fund’s support to run a campaign that reaches out to every Houstonian and asks each one to join us in protecting and enhancing what is best about the city we share,” said Parker.

http://www.dallasvoice.com/gay-lesbian-victory-fund-formally-endorses-annise-parker-chris-hightower-1063113.html


East Point’s Rhodes picks up early endorsements

Tue, Feb 1st 2011, 10:38

Two-term gay politician Lance Rhodes made it clear nearly a year before voters head to the polls: He wants a third term. Now, he’s collecting early endorsements from LGBT political groups.

On Monday, Rhodes said that he’s picked up nods from Georgia Equality and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund as he steams toward a third term on the East Point City Council as its Ward B representative. Rhodes announced his re-election effort in December, nearly 11 months before the election in the Atlanta suburb.

“In a world defined by difference, our strength depends on our common humanity,” Rhodes said in announcing the endorsements. “During my two terms in office, East Point citizens have demonstrated vision and a steadfast resolve to support equal rights within the LGBT community. We have seen a range of actions from the adoption of Domestic Partner Benefits to the inclusion of the LGBT community in our City Charter. Georgia Equality’s mission to build a fair majority has provided the foundation necessary to realize the dream of the LGBT community to receive equal and fair opportunity. Thank you Georgia Equality and Victory Fund for providing the resources necessary to support East Point in becoming a star for the LGBT community in Georgia. Your continued endorsement is the corner stone of our success.”

Rhodes’ tenure on council has included history-making steps for LGBT equality: Council colleagues made him the first openly gay man to serve as mayor pro tem earlier this year, he helped to successfully lobby the council to expand the city’s nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity in December 2009, and in 2005, he led successful efforts to offer domestic partner benefits to city employees

In September, Rhodes was named a grand marshal of the Atlanta Pride parade.

But this year as tensions heightened between Mayor Earnestine Pittman and the council, Rhodes charged that she abused her power in soliciting contributions through her monthly newsletter paid for by taxpayer funds and filed an ethics complaint.

In October, Rhodes filed a complaint with the East Point Police Department alleging a terroristic threat was made against him after a heated city council meeting.

The full endorsement from the Victory Fund:

Lance Rhodes has been active in his East Point community since first establishing his residency there. He began his service early on by serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission. In addition, he served on the Finance and Budget Committees and Pension Board.

During his tenure on the East Point Council, Mr. Rhodes received the high honor of the elected official of the month award from a leading Georgia civil rights organization, Georgia Equality. Mr. Rhodes was the first recipient of this award that has historically been reserved for national and state representatives. In addition to being a member of Georgia Equality, Councilman Rhodes is a member of the Human Rights Campaign and a member of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.

The Victory Fund is proud to endorse Mr. Rhodes a third time for a seat on the East Point City Council.

http://www.projectqatlanta.com/news_articles/view/east_points_rhodes_picks_up_early_endorsements?gid=7376


Life as the "first lad"

Tue, Feb 1st 2011, 10:28

The couple started dating soon after they met and around 2006, Polis expressed an interest in running for Congress. Both he and Reis understood that campaigning as an openly gay man would have consequences, especially when it came to messaging. "If he was elected, he didn't want to be known as a gay legislator, as his interests are immigration and education," said Reis.

The two worked with the Victory Fund, a nonprofit that helps LGBT leaders campaign for public office. "They prepared us for the media frenzy that would happen after his coming out. I think after being on the phone with them [Jared] realized it wouldn't be such a big deal," said Reis. Though the couple was ready for the worst, Reis recalled only two negative letters sent to Polis while he was running. Polis beat his opponent, Republican Scott Starin, with a healthy 62 percent of the vote.

http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1101/life_as_the_first_lad.html


Why Obama’s Appointment of ‘Damn Lesbian’ Roberta Achtenberg to the Civil Rights Commission is Important

Tue, Feb 1st 2011, 10:20

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, President Obama appointed Achtenberg to the US Commission on Civil Rights with barely a mention from the mainstream press and plaudits from the LGBT media. Achtenberg was one of three LGBT appointments and nominations announced by the White House yesterday. The Victory Fund notes that the Obama administration now has made 159 appointments in the president’s first two years in office, compared to about 140 during Clinton’s two terms in office.

The difference in the reception towards LGBT appointees between 1993 and 2011 is remarkable.

That is not to say that hate groups such as the Family Research Council and Townhall.com columnists such as Alan Sears aren’t still rankled that LGBT people like Chai Feldblum, Obama’s recess appointee to the Equal Opportunity Commission, are elevated to positions of power, arguing that gays will try to impose the “homosexual agenda” on democracy, which Sears sees as a threat to American liberty. But while the culture war rhetoric over abortion rights has seriously ticked up, mainstream antigay hate speech seems to have become more marginalized – even Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain was criticized during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell debate for suggesting that allowing open service by gays would cause military deaths.

But in 1993, even the idea of Boxer and Achtenberg together was anathema to the coddled hyper-antigay late North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms. During her 1992 senate campaign, Boxer, who is 4-foot-11 inches tall, would joke about standing up to the 6 foot tall Helms. And asked by The Washington Times why he wouldn’t vote for Achtenberg, Helms snapped, “Because she’s a damn lesbian.”  Later Helms added that she was “a militant, activist, mean lesbian.”

Helms and fellow Republican Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott organized a campaign of hate against Achtenberg – not just

Sen. Jesse Helms Photo from Wikipedia

her confirmation – but Achtenberg as a person, dragging her then-partner Judge Mary Morgan and their child into the public fight. Interestingly, Republican Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas expressed concern that Helms’ rhetoric would paint the GOP as the party of intolerance – though Dole, even then the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in 1996, made no effort to temper other harbingers of hate such as California Reps. Bill Dannemeyer and Bob Dornan who joined the chorus of religious hate mongers such as Rev. Jerry Falwell in saying AIDS was God’s “punishment” for homosexuality.

For two days, Achtenberg endured ugly debate in the media and on the Senate floor. Her confirmation was considered a test: though mostly closeted gays virtually ran the Capitol behind the scenes and Clinton elevated gay visibility during an excruciatingly dark and deadly time, many LGBTs questioned whether they would want to put themselves through that process just as the still relatively new national Victory Fund was encouraging LGBTs to run as political candidates.

“I am not going to put a lesbian into a position like that,” Helms said. Other conservatives attacked Achtenberg for her work as San Francisco Supervisor in denying funding to the United Way because they supported the explicitly antigay Boy Scouts. “We’re not talking about some youth gang, the Bloods and the Crips,” Dole said. “We’re talking about the Boy Scouts!”

“Ms. Achtenberg is worse than intolerant,” said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. “By using her position to attack the Boy Scouts, she brought the power of government to bear against a private association because that private association does not mirror her beliefs about what is good and true and just.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer Photo by Karen Ocamb

Boxer was almost beside herself: “It’s not about qualifications, it’s about a private life style,” Boxer said. “I say

America is better than that.”

”Call it gay-bashing if you want to. I don’t call it that. I call it standing up for America’s traditional family values,” an emotional Helms said on the Senate floor.

”We are crossing the threshold into the first time in the history of America that a homosexual or a lesbian has been nominated by a president of the United States to a top job in the U.S. government.”

On May 24, 1993, the Senate approved Achtenberg’s confirmation on a 58-31 vote, with five Southern Democrats joining the 26 Republicans. However, 13 Republicans joined the 45 Democrats in voting yes. One of those Democrats was Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Sam Nunn of Georgia, the man most responsible for scuttling Clinton’s effort to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military and the subsequent “compromise” of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell was seen whispering to Nunn before the vote.

“Roberta Achtenberg has broken down a wall and made it possible for future nominees to be judged on the merits” instead of prejudice, Gregory King, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign Fund, told the Los Angeles Times. HRCF and the gay community contributed at least $3 million to Clinton’s election campaign, which Helms claimed was extortion for the nomination.

“No doubt we should show tolerance and respect for those among us who are gay,” said Dole, who voted against Achtenberg. “But showing tolerance and respect should not force us to embrace an ideological agenda most Americans do not accept.”

“The real issue,” California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein told the LA Times, is whether “the United States Senate should vote down a nomination without regard to a candidate’s overwhelming qualifications simply because she is gay.”

Two months later, Boxer told National Women’s Political Caucus that the confirmation experience was “as ugly as it gets on the floor of the United States Senate. . . . You could feel the politics of hate and fear and divisiveness.” Boxer wagged her finger, imitating Helms who warned, “this vote will be remembered.” Boxer said, “It will be remembered, because we stood up. We stood up–and we won!”

Achtenberg served for two years before leaving for an unsuccessful run for San Francisco mayor. While at HUD, she made some improvements for LGBTs but she was ultimately unable to end housing discrimination against LGBTs.

“The major goal of the Fair Housing Enforcement Effort at HUD was to re-invigorate a bureaucracy that had been so depleted and demoralized because of 20 years of a lack of civil rights enforcement of any kind. My job was a very different job,” she told the San Francisco Weekly in 2009.  Additionally, the George W. Bush Administration “willfully” did a lot of damage to the HUD’s civil rights enforcement. “They essentially eviscerated the fair housing enforcement division. As people retired they didn’t fill jobs. They froze appropriations at the 1990 levels — and didn’t even ask Congress for increased amounts of money despite increased prevalence of racial and ethnic-based housing discrimination. They didn’t pursue one fair-lending case related to the subprime mortage debaucle.”

But “times have changed,” she said. “I do think the Obama administration might indeed be amenable to issuing an executive order to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in federally financed housing.”

Last Thursday, Jan. 20, HUD proposed new regulations that finally prohibit LGBT discrimination in housing. Additionally, HUD is conducting the first-ever national study of discrimination against LGBTs in the rental and sale of housing.

“This is a fundamental issue of fairness,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a press release.  “We have a responsibility to make certain that public programs are open to all Americans.  With this proposed rule, we will make clear that a person’s eligibility for federal housing programs is, and should be, based on their need and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Victory Fund’s Gay Politics blog reports that the Civil Rights Commission is an 8-member, independent federal body “that investigates, reports on and makes recommendations concerning civil rights issues.  Achtenberg, who was an early advisor to the LGBT community’s ongoing Presidential Appointments Project, is believed to be the first openly LGBT commissioner appointed to the panel.  She also currently serves on the board of trustees for the California State University.”

Achtenberg’s appointment is significant for several reasons, not the least of which because she is once again an LGBT “first” on the Civil Rights Commission.  She is a person who knows first hand what antigay hatred feels like, regardless of one’s station in life.  Surely she will handle this appointment as more than an intellectual exercise.

Achtenberg’s appointment also shows the clear, unrelenting through-line in antigay political attitudes – some of the same rhetoric is being used today, against the backdrop of a change in public opinion about LGBT equality.

But perhaps most importantly, Achtenberg and this appointment profoundly illustrate that it does get better – that merit can triumph over ignorant bias. And, for those of us too afraid to leave a hard-won job to pursue a dream – only to fade from public view if the dream doesn’t come true – Achtenberg’s return to the federal stage goes to show that significant second acts are possible in a lifetime of service.

http://www.lgbtpov.com/2011/01/why-obamas-appointment-of-damn-lesbian-roberta-achtenberg-to-the-civil-rights-commission-is-important/


A week before the Super Bowl, gay candidate kicks off City Council bid in host city Arlington

Thu, Jan 27th 2011, 14:40

A week before Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, openly gay Realtor Chris Hightower is set to kick off his campaign for the District 5 seat on the City Council.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which has endorsed Hightower, he would be the first openly gay city councilmember in Arlington’s history.

Hightower is an Arlington native who is the son of former Democratic State Rep. Paula Pierson. He lives with his partner in the historic “azalea house” at Park Row and Davis, according to his campaign website:

“I am running for City Council because I love Arlington,” Hightower writes. “From the classrooms of my childhood to the elected offices of today, I have witnessed firsthand what good can come from the hard work of those who care about our hometown. They have made this city into the place that I love. Now, it is time for my generation to step forward and provide leadership for our city’s future just as the generations before us have. It is my hope that children living in Arlington today choose to stay here and raise their families — not because they see the great things I saw in our city while I was growing up, but because they saw something even better.”

Hightower is trying to unseat District 5 incumbent Lana Wolff, who is seeking a fifth term on the council. Other candidates expected to run in District 5 include attorney Terry Meza and UTA student Christopher McCain.

According to his Facebook page, Hightower will host a kickoff party at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 29 at 2316 Woodsong Trail in Arlington.

He becomes the second candidate from Texas endorsed by the Victory Fund this year, joining Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, who’s seeking re-election to his District 9 seat.

The other known openly gay candidate in North Texas is James Nowlin, who plans to run for the District 14 seat on the Dallas City Council if incumbent Angela Hunt steps down to run for mayor.

http://www.dallasvoice.com/week-super-bowl-gay-candidate-kicks-city-council-bid-host-city-arlington-1062386.html


Whites, men dominate new Ohio governor's Cabinet

Fri, Jan 21st 2011, 11:43

Denis Dison, vice president of the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which promotes diversity of sexual orientation in public office, said the issue is not tokenism.

"You often hear, 'I'm going to search for the most qualified candidates.' If your contention is that the best qualified people were all white and mostly male, then you haven't looked too hard," he said. "Picking the friends-of-friends, the contemporaries from schools, is dangerous because you create this sort of cadre of yes-men in an echo chamber, people who have only had one set of experiences."

Nichols strongly disagreed with Dison, noting that Kasich has made history with some of his choices, including women who are his chief of staff and running mate, as well as the appointment of the state's first female adjutant general to oversee the Ohio National Guard. The chairman of Kasich's inaugural is also gay.

"I reject the question," Nichols said. "We have a lot of women in the cabinet and the show over here, in terms of our chief of staff. No echo chamber here."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/whites-men-dominate-new-ohio-governors-cabinet-1059578.html


So How Anti-Gay IS the GOP These Days? :: Reading the Tea Leaves

Thu, Jan 13th 2011, 09:04

Homophobia is still more permissible in politics than anti-Semitism or racismn, however, at least according to Denis Dison, vice president of external affairs at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

"You don’t see Fox News or CNN inviting white supremacists on the air to provide regular political commentary, but they often invite the leaders of viciously anti-LGBT groups like the Family Research Council to talk about employment non-discrimination, marriage, the military ban, etc," Dison said. "Frank Rich wrote a column in which he said homophobia was still at most a misdemeanor in Washington. I think that’s right."

The article Dison referred to criticized the Smithsonian’s decision to pull a segment of David Wojnarowicz’s "A Fire in My Belly" from an exhibit at The National Portrait Gallery.

The film, an expression of Wojnarowicz’s grief and fury over the death of his former lover and mentor from AIDS, received little attention until William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, an organization many consider a one-man band.

http://www.edgeonthenet.com/news//news//114942/so_how_anti-gay_is_the_gop_these_days?_::_reading_the_tea_leaves


Congress gets 4th openly gay member

Wed, Jan 12th 2011, 09:13

Cicilline earned the endorsement of many national LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

“This is an historic day for LGBT Americans, and another step toward a government that truly reflects our country’s diversity,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/01/05/congress-gets-4th-openly-gay-member/


Congress gets 4th openly gay member

Wed, Jan 5th 2011, 15:07

Cicilline earned the endorsement of many national LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

“This is an historic day for LGBT Americans, and another step toward a government that truly reflects our country’s diversity,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/01/05/congress-gets-4th-openly-gay-member/


Atkins, Gleason head Victory Fund

Mon, Jan 3rd 2011, 15:35

Two San Diegans were recently elected to the board of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, one of the nation’s largest political action committees.

Susan Atkins is the new chair of the organization and Robert Gleason was elected vice-chair.

“I am honored to lead the Victory Fund as it celebrates its 20th anniversary and enters its third decade working to grow the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected officials in government,” said Atkins, who has worked from more than 20 year in communications management in life sciences and technology. She is the first woman to chair the Victory Fund board since it restructured in 2006.

Gleason is currently the chief financial officer and general counsel of Evans Hotels, which owns and operates commercial properties and resorts, including The Lodge at Torrey Pines as well as the Bahia Resort Hotel and Catamaran Resort Hotel.

For more information on the Victory Fund visit www.victoryfund.org.

http://lajollalight.com/2010/12/31/atkins-gleason-head-victory-fund/


The political context of the next gay rights fight and Mayor Sam Adams

Mon, Dec 20th 2010, 17:35

In 2008, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund helped get Adams elected mayor. His campaign reported receiving $29,400 in cash and in-kind contributions from the fund, which accounted for about 8 percent of Adams’ contributions that year. That race made Adams the first openly gay leader of a major U.S. city.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/portlandcityhall/2010/12/the_political_context_of_the_n.html


Victory Fund Supports Fort Worth's Burns

Fri, Dec 10th 2010, 18:04

The Victory Fund has made its first endorsement for 2011 — getting behind the reelection effort of Joel Burns, the gay Fort Worth city councilman who in October made an impassioned speech in council chambers on LGBT youth suicides.

Burns's speech has been watched 2.5 million times, and the Victory Fund — which works to elect LGBT candidates to political office — says he has become a role model because of it. The councilman is running for reelection next year to represent the Texas city's District 9.

"Joel represents what the Victory Fund is all about — making sure LGBT voices are represented in government, and making sure we are heard," Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said in a press release.

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/12/10/Victory_Fund_Supports_Fort_Worths_Burns/


Daily Business Report — Dec. 10, 2010

Fri, Dec 10th 2010, 17:08

San Diegans Susan Atkins and Robert Gleason have been elected to leadership positions in the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that works to increase the number of openly LGBT elected officials in the country. Atkins was elected chair and Gleason vice chair. Atkins, a member of the Victory Fund board since 2004, has 20 years of communications management experience in life sciences and technology. In 1999, she founded one of the most successful agencies in the United States providing investor and public relations exclusively to life science companies and organizations, and sold the firm to Porter Novelli in 2005. Atkins becomes the first woman to chair the Victory Fund board since it restructured in 2006. Gleason is the chief financial officer and general counsel of Evans Hotels, which owns and operates commercial properties and resorts, including The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla as well as the Bahia Resort Hotel and Catamaran Resort Hotel, both on Mission Bay.  The Victory Fund board also elected Steve Elmendorf of Washington, D.C., as secretary, and Harvey Hurdle of Philadelphia as treasurer.  Frank Selvaggi of New York, N.Y., was also elected to serve on the Victory Fund board.

http://sandiegometro.com/2010/12/daily-business-report-%E2%80%94-dec-10-2010/


Your daily dose of Joel Burns

Fri, Dec 10th 2010, 13:58

Ever since his “It Gets Better” speech, it seems not a day (or even an hour) goes by that we don’t hear something new about openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. Today’s news comes from GayPolitics.com, which reports that Burns is the Victory Fund’s first endorsed candidate for 2011.

His powerful October speech about the suicides of young gay people, delivered in the chambers of the Fort Worth City Council, has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times on YouTube, prompting media outlets from across the country (and the world) to seek interviews to discuss the issue of anti-LGBT bullying.

Councilman Joel Burns has become a hero to LGBT youth who so desperately need role models — people who are successful and respected, but who are also open and honest about being gay.

Now Burns is also the first 2011 candidate to earn the Victory Fund’s endorsement. He’s running for re-election to represent District 9 on the Fort Worth City Council, and the Victory Fund is out to make sure he wins.

“Joel represents what the Victory Fund is all about — making sure LGBT voices are represented in government, and making sure we are heard,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

http://www.dallasvoice.com/daily-dose-joel-burns-1055945.html


San Diegans to lead national gay & lesbian political organizatiion

Fri, Dec 10th 2010, 09:28

Two San Diegans were elected to the top posts of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which bills itself as one of the largest political action committees in the nation.

Susan Atkins, a longtime communications expert, was selected as chair, the organization announced Thursday.

Robert Gleason, an executive with Evans Hotels, was named vice chair.

“I am honored to lead the Victory Fund as it celebrates its 20th anniversary and enters its third decade working to grow the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected officials in government," Atkins said in a statement released by the political action committee.

"Helping to elect the LGBT people who fight for equal rights for all every day, the Victory Fund is engaged in a mission that’s focused and effective. Our win rate was 65% this year. That's phenomenal. Now more than ever it will be important for leaders from our community to be heard, and I look forward to leading the national organization that’s making that happen.”

The organization's release says Atkins has 20 years of communications management experience in life sciences and technology. In 1999, she founded an agency that provided investor and public relations exclusively to life science companies and organizations, and sold the firm to Porter Novelli in 2005. Atkins becomes the first woman to chair the Victory Fund board since it restructured in 2006.

The Victory Fund board also elected Steve Elmendorf of Washington, D.C., as secretary, and Harvey Hurdle of Philadelphia as treasurer. Frank Selvaggi of New York, N.Y., was also elected to serve on the Victory Fund board.

In 2010, the Victory Fund endorsed 164 candidates for public office, and 107 won their elections.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/dec/09/san-diegans-lead-national-gay-lesbian-political-or/


Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference

Tue, Dec 7th 2010, 09:06

Openly LGBT leaders in politics, government and non-profit work met for the 26th International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference of the Victory Fund in Washington throughout the weekend. On Thursday the conference began with a reception with featured speakers including Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe, incoming Victory Fund Board Chair Brandon Hernandez and D.C. City Councilman David Catania.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2010/12/06/gay-lesbian-leadership-conference/


Marriage Equality Coming to Maryland?

Fri, Nov 19th 2010, 09:56

Out Maryland state senator Richard Madaleno said he is “guardedly optimistic” that the state legislature will pass a marriage equality bill in early 2011.

In an interview with Gay Politics, Madaleno put chances in the “six, seven eight range” on a scale of one to 10 for the bill's passage in the next 90-day session from January to mid-April of next year.

“His optimism stems from a number of developments on Election Day 2010, some of which ran absolutely counter to national trends,” reported Gay Politics. "In the Maryland Senate, Democrats actually expanded their majority to a 35-12

advantage over Republicans. And some Democrats who lost their seats did so in primary fights with more progressive challengers, many of whom vowed to be even stronger champions for marriage equality.”

Maryland also increased its number of out gay lawmakers from four to seven.
Madaleno said he felt confident the senate could pass a vote, but it was more difficult to predict the outcome in the House of Delegates. Governor Martin O’Malley has promised to sign a bill if it reaches his desk.

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/11/19/Marriage_Equality_Coming_to_Maryland/


Woman becomes nation's 1st transgender trial judge

Tue, Nov 16th 2010, 17:57

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has said she is the first openly transgender trial court judge in the country.

Kolakowski spent the past three years as an administrative law judge settling energy contract and environmental compliance disputes for the California Public Utilities Commission. She underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1981.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/16/AR2010111604588.html


Victory Fund: State Legislatures Void of Openly Gay Republicans

Tue, Nov 16th 2010, 17:52

There will be zero openly gay Republicans serving in state legislatures this January, according to the Victory Fund:

Among the nearly 4,000 Republican state lawmakers expected to serve across the U.S. come this January, none will be openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.  The development marks the first time in years that an openly LGBT voice will be absent from Republican politics at the state level.

“Unfortunately our endorsed GOP candidates for 2010 lost elections for state legislative positions in Nevada and Michigan, and the three sitting openly gay Republican state senators – in California, Massachusetts and Minnesota – are leaving office at the end of this year,” said James Dozier, deputy political director at the Victory Fund.

http://www.towleroad.com/2010/11/victory-fund-state-legislatures-void-of-openly-gay-republicans.html


2010 Out 100 Portfolio

Fri, Nov 12th 2010, 10:44

As the president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute, Chuck Wolfe oversees the organization’s identification, training, and support of LGBT political candidates, campaign staff, and public officials, including the 164 candidates the fund endorsed in 2010. “We know out elected officials can be a leading political indicator of real change,” he says. “ So it’s exciting to see so many candidates stepping up to run for office this year.”

http://out.com/Out100/slideshow.asp?slideshow_title=OUT100&theID=170#Top


Lexington to become third-largest U.S. city with an openly-gay mayor

Mon, Nov 8th 2010, 09:28

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based group that endorses and supports openly gay candidates, had named Lexington's contest among the "Ten Races to Watch" across the country.

Denis Dison, vice-president of the Victory Fund, compared Gray to Annise Parker, another openly gay candidate whose election as mayor of Houston, Texas, in 2009 surprised many people.

"But she was very pro-business and pro-development," Dison said. "A lot of people would think of gay candidates as being left of center and that's not always the case. In Gray's case he's a businessman and he runs a large and successful company, and that would give business leaders more comfort."

Unlike the Lexington mayor's race, Parker's campaign was marked by anti-gay fliers around Houston.

"The fact that did not materialize in Lexington is a real credit to Mayor Newberry and to the community at large," Dison said.

The Victory Fund endorsed 164 openly gay candidates in Tuesday's election, and a record 106 of them were elected.

Dison said about 30 cities across the country, most of them small, have openly gay mayors.

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/11/07/1514059_p2/lexington-to-become-third-largest.html


Congress will now have four open gay or lesbian members

Mon, Nov 8th 2010, 09:14

The Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to nurturing and electing qualified LGBT candidates, pointed to other elections around the nation to claim a record number of gay and lesbian candidates winning office.

Kevin Lembo, for instance, won his race to become the Connecticut state comptroller, putting him among the few gay people elected to statewide office in the nation.

Laurie Jinkins of Washington, Marcus Brandon of North Carolina, Patricia Todd in Alabama, Kathy Webb and Jack Jackson, Jr. of Arizona, Ricardo Lara in California, Lucia Guzman in Colorado, Simone Bell and Karla Drenner in Georgia,  Matt McCoy in Iowa,  Stan Rosenberg and Carl Sciortino of Massachusetts, and Heather Mizeur and Mary Washington of Maryland all won races for their states’ legislatures, as did Scott Dibble in Minnesota, Jeanette Mott Oxford and Michael Colona of Missouri, Diana Sands of Montana, Frank Ferri, Gordon Fox and Deb Ruggiero in Rhode Island, Jason Lorber and Suzi Wizowaty of Vermont and Cathy Connolly in Wyoming.

Those are in addition to Nickie Antonio, Ohio’s first out state legislator, and other local officials elected across the nation.

None of the Republicans endorsed by the Victory Fund for state legislative races were successful.

http://www.gaypeopleschronicle.com/stories10/november/1105104.htm


Midterms a Mixed Bag for LGBT Equality

Mon, Nov 8th 2010, 09:10

From the House of Representatives to Lexington, Kentucky, which just elected its first gay mayor, one of the most prominent groups tied to the victory of LGBT candidates is The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. This nonpartisan, federal, political, action committee funds, trains and promotes candidates for public office through donations, its Leadership Institute and a fellowship program. By focusing on politics through the endorsement and promotion of LGBT candidates, the fund seeks to gain equality for all LGBT people regardless of political affiliation.

In fact, since its 1991 founding, the fund's web site reads, "the number of openly LGBT elected officials serving in the U.S. has grown from 49 to more than 500." And the fund has backed many of them.

This campaign season, it backed a record 164 LGBT candidates, including Democrat, Republican and nonpartisan candidates - and saw a record 106 succeed. No Republican Congressional or state legislator backed by the fund, however, won election, according to Denis Dison, the fund's spokesperson.

Of its successes, the fund's CEO Chuck Wolfe said in a statement, "We can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America. Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality. Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America's politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone."

http://www.truth-out.org/midterms-a-mixed-bag-lgbt-equality64836


Gays Win Seats, but See House GOP Landslide as a Setback

Fri, Nov 5th 2010, 09:38

The steps forward, he said, included the addition of the fourth openly gay member of Congress, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, who will fill the seat vacated by Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Numerous local anti-discrimination ordinances passed, and according to a nationwide count by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, 106 gay candidates won public offices.

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/11/04/gays-add-to-ranks-in-office-but-see-house-gop-landslide-as-a-s/


Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:57

In early October, Chuck Wolfe, the chief executive of the Victory Fund and Leadership Institute, a group that supports gay candidates, offered some startling news to the campaign of Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who represented what had for years been considered a reliably safe district.

Mr. Wolfe had been at a Capitol Hill restaurant the evening before and overheard a Republican advertising strategist discussing his new assignment, to attack Mr. Frank with an expected budget of $1 million and a strategy to “piss him off, because you know how Barney gets.” Mr. Wolfe said afterward, “That anybody thought Barney could be vulnerable in his district seemed surprising.” Mr. Frank survived.

Others were not so lucky.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/us/politics/04campaign.html?pagewanted=3&_r=2


Alameda County voters elect country's first transgender judge

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:51

Yet the congratulatory calls were already coming in and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helped Kolakowski raise money for her campaign, featured her on a call with its major donors Wednesday.

Her campaign had attracted national attention, with the mainstream media playing up the history-making potential of her campaign. But Kolakowski said voters paid little attention to her transgender status and were more focused on her resume.

http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=5205


Gay-rights groups view election as major setback

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:44

In California's Alameda County, Victoria Kolakowski was elected a Superior Court judge; the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund said she is the first openly transgender trial court judge in America.

"There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress," said Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe. "But we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20101103/us-election-gays/


Election Results: LGBT Leadership Orgs Need To Be Asking, “What Now?”

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:36

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced that more openly LGBT candidates won election to public office in the U.S. in 2010 than in any year in America’s history.

Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement about the group’s success:

“There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress, but we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America. Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality.  Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America’s politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone.  We will continue to focus on training committed, qualified candidates, and we will work hard to get them elected to public office.”

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/election-results-lgbt-leadership-orgs-need-to-be-asking-what-now/civil-rights/2010/11/03/14703


Record 106 gay candidates elected in 2010

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:29

A record number of openly LGBT candidates have been elected to public office in 2010, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

“There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress, but we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. “Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality. Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America’s politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone. We will continue to focus on training committed, qualified candidates, and we will work hard to get them elected to public office.”

At least 106 of the group’s record-breaking 164 endorsed candidates were winners as of Wednesday morning, the Victory Fund said.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise came in Lexington, Kentucky, where openly gay construction company executive Jim Gray won election as mayor. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported the news shortly after the polls closed at 6 p.m. Gray has been serving as the city’s vice mayor and defeated incumbent mayor Jim Newberry.

The paper said the campaign has been one of the most expensive in the city’s history and only the second time a sitting mayor has been defeated. The ballot in Lexington does not indicate party affiliation. According to results published by the Herald-Leader, Gray won with 53 percent of the vote, to Mayor Jim Newberry’s 46 percent. The Herald-Leader noted that Gray lost a bid for mayor in 2002, when his sexual orientation was not public. Gray came out before running successfully for an at-large seat on the Urban County Council.

In another southern state, North Carolina, openly gay candidate Marcus Brandon of High Point won his first-time run for state representative and, in doing so, becomes the state’s first openly gay legislator. According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Brandon also becomes only the fifth openly gay African-American elected to a state legislature anywhere in the country. As of 10:30 Tuesday night, three hours after polls closed, the state Board of Elections showed Brandon with 70 percent of the vote, compared to Republican Lonnie Wilson. The race was to represent North Carolina’s District 60, which encompasses Guilford County in the middle of the state. Brandon told the News-Record newspaper of Greensboro that his sexual orientation was not a secret but that “This is not something I wanted to take over my campaign.”

“Nobody in a year-and-a-half ever asked me about my sexuality,” Brandon said, in an Oct. 15 blog by an editorial writer in which the paper noted his race was one of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund’s “Ten Races to Watch” this year.

http://www.dallasvoice.com/record-106-gay-candidates-elected-2010-1050822.html


Most LGBT Candidates Elected ever in 2010

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:24

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund  today announced that more openly LGBT candidates won election to public office in the U.S. in 2010 than in any year in America’s history.

At least 106 of the group’s record-breaking 164 endorsed candidates were winners as of Wednesday morning, including Providence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline (pictured), who will become the fourth openly gay Member of Congress when the House convenes in January.

Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement about the group’s success:

“There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress, but we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America. Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality.  Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America’s politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone.  We will continue to focus on training committed, qualified candidates, and we will work hard to get them elected to public office.”

Important 2010 election results include:

–David Cicilline’s election to Congress.  The Providence, R.I. mayor will be the fourth openly gay member of the U.S. House of Representatives, joining Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank and Jared Polis, who each won reelection.

–Jim Gray’s election as mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, the state’s second-largest city.

–Nickie Antonio’s election to the Ohio House.  Antonio will be the first openly LGBT person to serve in the state legislature.

–Marcus Brandon’s election to the North Carolina House.  Brandon will be the state’s only openly gay state legislator and one of just five out African Americans to serve as state lawmakers.

–Victoria Kolakowski’s election as a Superior Court judge in Alameda County.  Kolakowski becomes the first openly transgender judge in America.

–Kevin Lembo’s election as Connecticut State Comptroller.  Lembo joins just a handful of openly LGBT candidates to have been elected to statewide positions.

–Laurie Jinkins’ election to the Washington State House.  Jinkins is Washington’s first openly lesbian state legislator, and could help her gay colleagues pass a marriage equality bill in the next legislative session.

–Maryland’s and California’s expanded LGBT state legislative caucuses.  Each will include seven openly gay and lesbian lawmakers.  In Maryland, the caucus is poised to help pass marriage equality legislation, which the reelected Gov. Martin O’Malley has vowed to sign.

–Dan Hill’s loss in his Nevada House race.  The Victory Fund’s endorsed Republican candidates for state legislative seats were not successful, meaning no openly LGBT Republicans will be serving as state lawmakers next year.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is the only national organization dedicated to increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government in the U.S.  It has grown that number from 49 to more than 500 since its founding in 1991.  A full 2010 Election Scorecard will soon be available at www.victoryfund.org.

http://lezgetreal.com/2010/11/most-lgbt-candidates-elected-ever-in-2010/


Lexington's New Mayor

Thu, Nov 4th 2010, 17:13

The Victory Fund, which first noted his success, included  a statement from Chuck Wolfe, its president and CEO, who said in the statement, "This is a tremendous victory for Lexington, for Kentucky’s LGBT community and for fairness. We are proud of Jim Gray and his fantastic campaign staff who fought hard for this win."

http://metroweekly.com/poliglot/2010/11/lexingtons-new-mayor.html


Stay Connected


Support Candidates

See all Candidates
Victory Magazine

Join Our Network

YouTube Flickr LinkedIn
The Victory Store