The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ali Bay, Communications Manager

PHONE: (916) 284-9187

Californians Elect Legislators Who Support Marriage Equality

Three New Lawmakers Endorsed by EQCA’s PAC Join Legislature


When lawmakers start the new legislative session on Dec.
1, they will be joined by three new leaders who support the freedom to
marry for same-sex couples. While two legislative races still remain
too close to call, at least three new lawmakers who were endorsed by
Equality California's PAC for supporting equal rights for all
Californians will be sworn into office when lawmakers begin the 2009-10

"Once again, Californians have elected a Legislature that continues to
support marriage rights for same-sex couples, and with this new
session, we have an even more supportive Legislature in place," said
EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "Each of the new legislators
endorsed by Equality California defeated opponents who staunchly oppose
equal rights for same-sex couples, making it clear that the freedom to
marry is not a wedge issue in California."

EQCA's PAC endorsed a total of 57 candidates during the Nov. 4
election, 54 of whom won their races. The three new lawmakers who
support LGBT equality, and defeated opponents who do not, include Joan
Buchanan in Assembly District 15, Marty Block in Assembly District 78,
and Manuel Perez in Assembly District 80. In addition, EQCA-endorsed
candidate Lois Wolk succeeds Sen. Mike Machado in Senate District 5.
Machado, a Democrat, has supported some, but not all, LGBT rights
bills, including marriage.

"We're particularly pleased that Manuel Perez won in Assembly District
80, despite being the target of anti-gay rhetoric from his opponent,"
said Alice Kessler, EQCA Government Affairs Director. "Voters saw right
through the anti-equality candidate's effort to make Perez' support of
marriage a campaign issue, proving that supporting equality is a
winning strategy."

The Nov. 4 election also secured four members for California's LGBT
Legislative Caucus. The Caucus includes two returning members, Sen.
Christine Kehoe from San Diego and former Assemblymember and
Senator-elect Mark Leno from San Francisco. Assemblymembers-elect John
A. Perez, of Los Angeles, and Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, both
longtime community leaders, will join the Caucus. Perez is the first
Latino member of the LGBT Caucus.

Two legislative races are still too close to call, including the race
in Assembly District 10, where Allyson Huber ran against anti-equality
candidate Jack Sieglock. In Assembly District 19, Hannah-Beth Jackson
ran against anti-equality candidate Tony Strickland. Both Huber and
Jackson were endorsed by Equality California's PAC. If both of those
candidates win their seats, all but one of EQCA's endorsed candidates
will have won their races during the Nov. 4 election.

"California continues to lead the nation in securing equal rights for
LGBT people through the Legislature, and one of the ways we've done
that is by electing fair-minded candidates who stand with us in our
mission to achieve true equality for all Californians," Kors said.
"Equality California has sponsored and passed more LGBT civil rights
bills than any other organization of its kind in the country, and that
fact alone speaks volumes for the quality of leadership we have in

In order to receive an Equality California PAC endorsement, candidates
must support complete equality for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender (LGBT) community 100 percent of the time.

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.