The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation's largest gay and lesbian political action committee, announced that eight of its endorsed candidates won their elections or won enough votes to move on to a runoff.
Many of the Victory Fund endorsed candidates overcame vicious attacks by well-funded, anti-gay challengers.
One of the goals of the Victory Fund has been adding openly gay or lesbian elected officials in state legistlatures.
In Alabama, Patricia Todd fended off a last minute smear campaign forcing a July 13 runoff for a state legislature.
In his first race as an out, gay man, Matt McCoy won his primary in Iowa to defend his legislative seat in November even after repeated attacks from a "family values" opponent.
On the verge of becoming the first openly gay legislator in Arkansas history, Kathy Webb won her Democratic primary for a seat in the Arkansas state legislature.
In California, Ken Yeager won a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; Kevin Dowling was re-elected to the Hayward City Council; David Rubin was elected San Diego Superior Court Judge; Richard Gordon retained his seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors; John Laird remained in the California State Assembly; and Assemblyman Mark Leno advanced to the general election.
"Increasingly, fairness trumps fear. Our candidates are winning because voters understand they care about issues that matter to themthe economy, schools, crime and health care. A candidate's sexual orientation is a non-issue among fair-minded Americans," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "Our successful candidates provide a compelling vision for advancing public policy on a wide range of issues voters care aboutand, ultimately, that's what resonates with the voter. Not whether or not the candidate is gay or lesbian."
Wolfe also noted that key wins in states whose legislatures have no openly LGBT representation present an opportunity for dialog on issues important to all types of families. "Other legislators respond to the courage and commitment demonstrated by their openly gay and lesbian colleagues. It's harder to be intolerant towards those you know and work with every day."
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly LGBT candidates and officials. It's the only national organization solely committed to increasing the number of openly LGBT public officials at federal, state and local levels of government. For more information, visit VictoryFund.org.