Alabama appoints first lesbian representative

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Patricia Todd made history this week when voters in Alabama’s 54th legislative district sent the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever that the Alabama legislature will include an openly gay representative.

The Gay Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political action committee, endorsed Ms Todd and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help fund her campaign.

She has no Republican opponent in the general election in November.

“The road to equality in Alabama is a mile shorter today,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and chief executive of the Victory Fund. “Gays and lesbians in Alabama will now have what all Americans deserve, a voice and a vote.

“Alabama knows well what a single voice can accomplish. We applaud Patricia’s courage in stepping up to be heard.”

Active for years in gay and Democratic causes, Todd was a founder and former president of the Alabama Stonewall Democrats, executive director of Birmingham AIDS Outreach and an elected delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

She won a tough primary election the same day that Alabamans state wide embraced a same-sex marriage ban with 81 percent of the vote.

“From big cities to small towns, from blue states to red states, equality is winning,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. “We were proud to join the efforts of Equality Alabama and the Victory Fund in helping fair-minded voters get out to the ballot box. Representative Todd was supported by an intense ground effort that involved a broad group of supporters.”

In other elections , Victory-endorsed candidate Karla Drenner won her Democratic primary to advance to the general election in November. Ms Drenner is Georgia’s only openly gay state legislator. Allen Thornell, a Victory endorsee who is seeking election to the Georgia house, advanced to a runoff in his Democratic primary election.

“Karla’s voice in the Georgia legislature is vitally important. We’re working hard both to make sure she stays there and to help elect Allen Thornell to join her,” Mr Wolfe said.

Mr Thornell would be the first openly gay man in the Georgia legislature.

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