Lesbian PAC forms with high-profile backers

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Out actress Jane Lynch is backing LPAC. She said, “This year we have seen politicians repeatedly support policies that harm women. It is important to me to elect leaders who care about issues that impact women and their families. That’s why I support LPAC.” - Photo: poptower.com

A lesbian political action committee launched in mid-July with the help of such high-profile backers as actress Jane Lynch and tennis legend Billie Jean King.

“After decades of being a small subset of players in women’s rights and LGBT political efforts, the women of LPAC are stepping up to get organized like never before, aiming to give lesbians a real and meaningful seat at the table,” LPAC’s announcement read. “With significant resources behind us, LPAC plans to make a true impact for lesbians in the 2012 election cycle and beyond.”

The PAC, according to its website, is committed to candidates who champion issues that impact lesbians and their families, including:

• Ending discriminatory treatment of LGBT people and their families.

• Supporting sexual and reproductive freedom.

• Supporting women’s access to quality health care.

• Furthering social, racial and economic justice for all.

“Members of the LGBT community are inspirational leaders and role models in every aspect of American life,” King said. “The formation of LPAC provides lesbians and the entire LGBT community a new, stronger voice and a real and respected seat at the table when politicians make policy that impacts our lives.”

Lynch said, “This year we have seen politicians repeatedly support policies that harm women. It is important to me to elect leaders who care about issues that impact women and their families. That’s why I support LPAC.”

The advisory board includes longtime activist Urvashi Vaid; former newspaper publisher Alix Ritchie; Chicago businesswoman Sarah Schmidt; political consultant Valerie Berlin; lobbyist Emily Giske; New York businesswoman Margaret Traub; pollster Donna Victoria and Chicago Cubs co-owner-director Laura Ricketts.

Ricketts – whose father is a major donor to conservative causes through the Ending Spending Action Fund – is a co-chair of the Democratic National Committee's LGBT Leadership Council and a major backer of Barack Obama.

“I support LPAC because courageous elected officials who support women’s rights, fairness, and equality for all of us deserve our unconditional support,” she said.

LPAC has yet to announce its first funding commitments, but mentions have included Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who would be the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate, and the marriage-related ballot measures in Washington, Minnesota, Maryland and Maine.

“Frankly, we created LPAC because we were shocked by this past year,” said Schmidt, LPAC’s chair and treasurer. “Lesbians could no longer stand by and witness continued attacks on reproductive freedoms, marriage equality and be immersed in a political sphere where women are not given a meaningful voice in politics.”

A week after LPAC began rallying lesbian donors and voters across the country, a group of conservative women gathered in Concord, N.H., to announce their general election plans.

The women – aligned with the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council held a press conference to call the “war on women” a myth and blast Obama for trampling religious freedoms.

“It is essential that conservatives of every stripe step up to speak against the divisions President Obama depends upon for victory in the fall elections,” said Connie Mackey of the FRC.

Mackey said the few women who spoke in Concord on July 17 “stand firmly for the values that made this country great and who look forward to getting this country back on the right road.”

On the Web

The Lesbian Political Action Committee – LPAC – is at www.teamlpac.com.