themarks2012The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced it has endorsed three openly gay candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives next year, a slate that could nearly double the number of out members of Congress.  Among the three is a candidate who would become the first openly LGBT person of color to serve in Congress.

The newly-endorsed candidates (pictured L to R) are:

Marko Liias, a state representative who is seeking to represent Washington’s 1st Congressional District.  He would replace Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, who is running for governor;

Mark Pocan, a Democrat who is running to replace Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Congress. Pocan has served in the Wisconsin State Assembly for more than 12 years;

Mark Takano, who is running to represent California’s 41st Congressional District in the U.S. House.  Takano, a Democrat, is a longtime elected member of the Riverside Community College District’s Board of Trustees.

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said the early endorsements signal the group plans to push hard in 2012 to increase the community’s representation in Congress, where currently just four of 535 members are openly LGBT.  Last week Victory announced its endorsement of Rep. Tammy Baldwin in her race to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

“We need more authentic voices who will fight for us in Washington.  Allies are crucial, but nothing can replace the impact of having openly LGBT lawmakers representing the millions of Americans who still long for fairness, freedom and equality,” said Wolfe.  ”We’ve got a lot of work left to do this year in local and state races across the country, but we also want to make sure we’re preparing now to play substantial roles in some key federal races in 2012.”