Utah May Have Their First Openly Gay Political Party Leader

The Utah Democratic Party has voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of electing co-founder of Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center, Jim Dabakis, as their new chairman.

Dabakis is also "believed to be the first openly gay leader of a political party in the state."

Dabakis said his sexual orientation never came up during the nomination process.

"The whole gay thing just simply did not surface as an issue," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. "People are broad-minded in Utah, and they want to know if you can do the job or not."

Dabakis has said he will "go out of his way" to make members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feel "comfortable" in the Democratic Party and that he feels Democrats are an inclusive bunch, even if they occasionally have differing opinions:

"I want to speak directly to the LDS people in our state," he said. "I want you LDS people to participate in our party. We want your spirit, we want your contributions, and we want to earn your votes. I will do whatever I can as chair to see that our big tent is comfortable to LDS people because it's the right thing to do."

Dabakis said many Mormons want a chance to be part of the "normal, moderate, reasonable" Democratic Party in light of splintering in the GOP between the tea party and more moderate Republicans.

"People are looking for real life answers to problems," said Dabakis, who replaces retiring three-term party chairman Wayne Holland. "I believe to my core Democrats can win in Utah."

Convention delegates have also elected Brian Doughty, who is openly gay, to replace state Rep. Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City.

Utah Democratic Party chairman believed to be state's first openly gay political party leader [Washingon Post]