Equality California, one of the most powerful and politically-connected gay rights groups in the state, has endorsed San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for his run for lieutenant governor, which is no surprise to us.

Newsom is running against L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in a hard-fought Democratic primary, with Hahn recently telling L.A. Weekly that the mayor is “phoning in” his campaign.

The major endorsement from Equality California comes after Newsom failed to get the backing from several gay rights groups based in Southern California.

Such organizations as the Los Angeles-based Stonewall Democratic Club and the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club have endorsed Hahn.

At a recent Equality California candidates forum in West Hollywood, though, Newsom came off as something of a rock star, with loud,

rousing applause for almost everything he said.

The mayor gained wide popularity among gays and lesbians in 2004 for allowing same sex couples to marry in San Francisco.

Equality California, which regularly works with Sacramento legislators to pass gay rights laws, has extensive connections in California politics. It is also considered one of the more well-funded gay rights groups in the state, and will undoubtedly use its vast resources to help the Newsom campaign.

“Gavin has been a strong ally and essential partner in the LGBT civil rights movement,” said EQCA executive director Geoff Kors in a press release. “He has a demonstrated record of pioneering leadership advocating for marriage equality, universal health care, and legislative protections for LGBT Californians.  His voice and actions have helped bring foster understanding and acceptance and made California a safer and more equal state.”

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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