There are two ways to vote for candidates in the United States: through the ballot box and through the checkbook. By either method, the LGBT community will always be outnumbered by virtue of the small percentage of the population that can be identified as LGBT.
But even so, the gay political dollar is turning up more frequently in more races and more arenas than ever before and, this year, it helped improve the political landscape for LGBT people both in Congress and at least two state legislatures. It also contributed to the first failure of a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
For years, the LGBT community relied on the country’s only national gay political action committee – the Human Rights Campaign PAC – as the sole vehicle for identifying gay dollars, gathering them up, and dropping them off in strategic campaigns. But in recent years, gays have begun forming state political action committees, and individual gay people with extraordinary wealth have been making their own strategic political contributions.
Data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics indicate that about three-fourths of campaign contributions from the gay community come through political action committees in support of federal races. But when gay funding for state legislative races and efforts to defeat state anti-gay ballot measures is factored in, the picture shifts. Suddenly, two gay men – Tim Gill in Colorado and Jon Stryker in Michigan – gave collectively more than three times the money contributed, spent, and bundled by HRC during the 2005-06 election cycle.
A goal of the LGBT business movement is to harness the power of business and financial success to shape the direction and leadership of our nation. RainbowPAC maximizes its impact by investing in local leaders and legislation to strengthen LGBT leadership and influence in unity with other minority communities.