Today, sports icon Billie Jean King and actress Jane Lynch announced the formation of a super PAC designed to increase the political power of the lesbian community.
Aptly named LPAC, the organization will provide financial backing to pro-lesbian candidates, whether Democrats or Republicans, male or female, gay or straight. The group intends to back ballot measures, along with federal and state candidates.
Endorsed candidates must support ending discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; reproductive rights and access to quality health care; and social, racial and economic justice. Additionally, the group aims to create a network of women who stay engaged after the election.
One likely recipient of an endorsement would be Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who hopes to become the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate.
LPAC intends to raise at least $1 million for the 2012 elections and has already obtained pledges of $200,000. High-profile supporters include King, Lynch, Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts and Sarah Schmidt, a scion of the family behind Midwest petroleum distributor U.S. Venture.
“Members of the LGBT community are inspirational leaders and role models in every aspect of American life — from education to entertainment, from sports to science,” said King in a statement. “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.”
LPAC distinguishes itself from existing women’s and LGBT groups — such as EMILY’s List and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund — by specifically targeting lesbians.
“I think there’s a real opportunity here to engage women who haven’t been engaged before —for lesbians, in particular, to speak for ourselves about the issues that are important to us and to define those issues in our own words,” said Sarah Schmidt, LPAC’s spokeswoman.
Schmidt said the super PAC hasn’t determined which candidates it will endorse. But when asked if she believed any Republicans would be included in this group, Schmidt said it was doubtful.