Mary Gonzalez

The Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed 28-year-old rising star Mary Gonzalez, one of four openly LGBT candidates for Texas Legislature in 2012. And that’s good news because the Victory Fund only backs candidates the group believes are viable.

As we noted in our story about Gonzalez and the other out candidates two weeks ago, Texas is one of only 18 states that lack an openly LGBT legislator. And, according to the Victory Fund, no state has passed same-sex relationship recognition without one. In other words, we need a seat at the table in Austin.

After the jump, read an excerpt about Gonzalez from our recent story. You can also read about her on the Victory Fund page, but it looks like you’ll have to go to Gonzalez’s campaign website to make a contribution. You can also follow Gonzalez’s campaign on Facebook.

Born and raised in Clint, outside of El Paso, the graduate student is a veteran of the Capitol, having worked for state Reps. Paul Moreno and Richard Raymond.

Gonzalez is co-chair of the Board of Directors for allgo, a statewide organization for queer people of color. At 28, she is the youngest of the out candidates running for the Texas House, but has quickly established herself as the frontrunner in the Democratic Primary in El Paso’s District 75, a contest to replace Demoratic Rep. Chente Quintillia, who isn’t seeking re-election.

Gonzalez has out fundraised her two primary opponents, Hector Enriquez and Tony Roman, four to one, and has a nearly $20,000 war chest to support her campaign.

“I have strong backing and people who are excited about this race,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said she is proud to be an out queer woman, but that in her race the need for basic necessities takes precedence. “When people don’t have running water, street lights, roads, or basic infrastructure, the last thing that people are going to talk about is domestic partnerships,” said Gonzalez. “In a part of my district, San Elizario, 49 percent of the people are living below the federal poverty level.”

At the same time, she said it’s important that people know she is running as an out candidate.

“I always liked the idea of people knowing there’s someone out here in El Paso who is out and fighting for these issues,” she said.