LGBTQ Community Building Long Term Political Power with Record Number of Viable Candidates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 25, 2016

CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Communications; elliot.imse@victoryfund.org; 646.957.4740

New Research Shows LGBTQ Representation Dramatically Affects Policy Outcomes

Philadelphia, PA – As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, LGBTQ elected officials and leaders are viewing this election cycle as a unique opportunity to advance equality by supporting LGBTQ candidates nationwide. US Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Mark Takano (D-CA), former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills noted the unprecedented number of LGBTQ candidates running for office this year, and highlighted new research showing the impact of LGBTQ lawmakers on policy outcomes and their straight colleagues.

“With a record number of LGBTQ people running for office and new research showing LGBTQ lawmakers have significant influence over their straight colleagues, the elections are a real opportunity to make significant strides for LGBTQ equality,” said Congressman Takano. “When LGBTQ lawmakers are part of the conversation, the dynamic changes.”

Among the Victory Fund research findings:

  • 70 percent of straight state lawmakers report their LGBTQ lawmaker colleagues were influential in their votes in favor of marriage equality;
  • In the 30 states that face anti-LGBTQ legislation, 74 percent have one or no openly LGBTQ state lawmakers. Of the 20 states that are not facing anti-LGBTQ legislation, 85 percent have two or more openly LGBTQ state lawmakers.
  • Nearly 70 percent of states with five or fewer openly LGBTQ public officials are rated as having low levels of LGBTQ equality by the Movement Advancement Project.

“While LGBTQ rights are advancing in some parts of the country, states with few or no openly LGBTQ elected officials continue to single out LGBTQ people for discrimination,” said Mayor Parker. “In many ways, the future of the LGBTQ movement rests on our ability to elect LGBTQ leaders who will influence and demand the legislative changes necessary for full equality.”

“We have great allies in Congress, but no leaders are more tenacious in demanding LGBTQ equality than the openly LGBTQ members,” said Congressman Maloney. “We consistently ensure LGBTQ issues are a priority for our colleagues, and we are a critical voice in persuading hesitant lawmakers to support the issues that affect our lives.”

“When LGBTQ elected officials are part of the debate on anti-LGBTQ or pro-equality legislation, it humanizes the issue, and makes it more difficult for anti-LGBTQ lawmakers to misrepresent our lives,” said Mrs. Moodie-Mills. “Representation matters for our community, so it is critical we elect our great slate of LGBTQ candidates this November.”

The Victory Fund “Representation Matters” research series is available online at https://www.victoryfund.org/warroom. The conversation with Mrs. Moodie-Mills and elected officials took place during a telephone press conference Monday morning.

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Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.

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