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Gays gaining ground in state political district boundary talks

In what would be a nationwide first, California may draw its new political districts with an eye toward protecting the voting power of "gayborhoods."

Advocates for gay and lesbian groups have petitioned the state's redistricting commission to preserve or expand the number of gay-friendly congressional or legislative districts. They are offering maps that show gay-friendly neighborhoods in areas from San Diego to the Bay Area to West Hollywood. Commission members seem receptive.

It is far from certain whether considering the interests of these groups would lead to significant political changes in a state that has seven openly gay state lawmakers, though no gay congressional representatives. But for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community, becoming part of the process could have a huge symbolic effect.

"Communities of interest such as Latinos and African-Americans are protected to ensure proper representation," said Mario Guerrero, government affairs director for Equality California, a gay advocacy group. "We want the same opportunity to elect representatives from our community."

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