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Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund recounts recent victories

Last Saturday night was nothing short of amazing. Annise Parker's election as mayor of Houston was a deeply satisfying moment in our nation's history, and I think a sign of things to come.

We fought back against anti-gay extremists, and we won.

Ending 2009 on a high note gives me a renewed sense of hope for what our community can accomplish in 2010. I'm proud that LGBT elected officials are at the center of some exciting wins:

-Three days before Annise was elected, Assemblyman John Perez locked up the votes to become the next speaker of the California Assembly. John, who's openly gay, was endorsed by the Victory Fund in 2008, and is still in his first term. He'll be one of the most powerful openly LGBT elected officials in history.

-On December 1st, Simone Bell became the nation's first openly lesbian African-American to be elected to a state legislature when she won her runoff election in Georgia. Simone was a Victory Fund endorsee and a graduate of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute's Candidate & Campaign Training.

-Earlier this week, openly gay Washington, D.C. Councilmember David Catania persuaded his colleagues to vote overwhelmingly for his bill to legalize marriage for same-sex couples in the District. David's passion, intellect and work ethic have given the LGBT community a powerful voice in city government.

The Victory Fund and Leadership Institute are separate organizations with a key connection point - a firm belief that we will advance toward true equality faster if we can become the leaders we so desperately need in politics and government. Each organization supports efforts to make sure our community is at the table of power and able to actually create the change we deserve.

At the Leadership Institute, we equip LGBT leaders to fight the anti-gay right. That's why courageous candidates like Annise Parker are able to win elections and expose the lies of extremists. The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is a tax-exempt non-profit with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.

We're lean and effective, and our programs help LGBT leaders win.

The Victory Fund raises money to help elect remarkable candidates like Annise, Simone and John. Our expert political team advises LGBT candidates on winning strategies, and more than two-thirds go on to win their races. They change minds about who we are, and they work hard for fairer policies for LGBT people and their families.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is "changing the world. One election at a time."