Equality Illinois PAC, the political action arm of Chicago-based LGBT rights advocacy group Equality Illinois, announced “record-breaking” contributions to pro-LGBT candidates in races across the state Monday, or nearly double the amount it contributed in the 2008 election.
The statewide group has poured $127,500 into 2012 primary election and general election races it feels are important for advancing LGBT rights. In the 2009-2010 election cycling, the group contributed $68,450 to candidates, and in the 2007-2008 cycle, the total was $32,950. This shows about a fourfold increase in four years, according to the PAC.
“Looking at just how imperative it is to elect pro-LGBT candidates to state and local elected office this year, Equality Illinois PAC decided to ramp up our efforts to support our endorsed candidates at a level we have never attempted before,” said Jeremy Gottschalk, president of Equality Illinois PAC in a media release. “We have been working diligently since early 2011 to recruit supportive candidates, raise money for campaign contributions, and line up volunteers in preparation for this historic election.”
The money behind the increased contributions came from an active donor base comprised of LGBT supporters and allies who take the upcoming election with heightened “seriousness,” according to Equality Illinois Executive Director Bernard Cherkasov.
“It is at the state level that civil unions and now marriage equality is being accomplished. It is at the state level that anti-discrimination laws are being passed and that family law is being recognized to reflect the diverse definition of families today,” Cherkasov said. “And strong pro-LGBT state leaders help guide school districts, counties and municipalities to enact their own policies against discrimination and bullying.”
Earlier this month, the PAC announced its endorsements for the Nov. 6 election, listing support for 82 candidates in state legislative and local races, including out gay and lesbian candidates.