Remember all those anti-gay candidates who ran for office this year? As of yesterday, dozens of them are now members of Congress and the House of Representatives is under their control.

And starting now, the voices of straight allies are more important than ever – because if right-wing leaders know how many straight Americans support equality, they’ll understand the political consequences of their hate.

To ensure they get the message, we’re launching a huge effort in Congress and across the country to stop discriminatory federal legislation and local anti-marriage efforts – through grassroots pressure, rapid-response media, and public education – and to make sure our kids don’t think it’s wrong or evil to be who they are, just because a bigoted member of Congress might say so.

To do it, we need 2,011 people like you to join HRC for 2011 in the next three weeks. That’s just 201 from California. Join today and we won’t send you any more notices for the remainder of our membership drive.

This is the civil rights battle of our generation, and straight allies are critical. Be one of 2,011 new members to join HRC for 2011 – and we’ll get right to work instead of contacting you again.

We closed last year with a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal victory 17 years in the making. 2011 opens with a new, more conservative, more deeply anti-gay House leadership – helmed by right-wingers John Boehner and Eric Cantor. Together, they tried to stop us from repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” They’ve opposed legislation on hate crimes, employment non-discrimination, responsible HIV/AIDS policy, and relationship recognition. And they just became very powerful.

But we don’t intend to just play defense.

We can’t – and won’t – stop fighting to make sure all people get to marry the person they love, raise kids together, and have a family that’s protected by the same laws as everyone else. That’s why we’re working to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, fight for marriage equality in the states, and ensure the freedom to marry for ALL Americans, gay or straight. Help now »

We can’t stop working to reduce bullying in schools or in communities of faith. We can’t stop getting corporations to improve their policies for LGBT employees. And we can’t stop exposing hateful groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). This week, we forced NOM to release its tax returns and found that 75 percent of its funding comes from just five big donors. You can help »

And we cannot give up fighting for a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In 29 states, you can still be fired for your sexual orientation. In 38 states, you can be fired for your gender identity. Fired – just for being who you are. That has to end. Help get there »

Political pundits may say it’s an uphill battle. But those same pundits said we couldn’t repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Winning new battles for equality will take all the creativity and tenacity we brought to bear in that effort. It will also take significant resources – especially given the massive funding right-wing groups have at their disposal.

That’s why we need you, Patti. Over 85 percent of our funding comes from people like you, NOT from foundations or grants – so stand with us in 2011 and make a real difference in the civil rights battle of our time.

There’s one thing that won’t change in 2011: We’ll still rely on you, and you’ll still make amazing things possible.

Let’s fight together,

Joe Solmonese