Gay Democrat Wins Utah Party Chair, Courts Mormons

Jim_Dabakis

Jim Dabakis became the first openly gay man to win the Utah Democratic Party’s chairmanship this weekend. And now that he’s won, Dabakis vows to keep strengthening frayed ties between his party and the Mormon Church.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Dabakis previously worked with the church to build support for Salt Lake City’s 2009 anti-discrimination ordinance and more recently held a private meeting with about 30 powerful Mormon locals to bridge political divides.

“We [Democrats] call ourselves the big-tent party, that everyone is welcome,” Dabakis told the Tribune. “But in the past, it has seemed that everyone is welcome in our big tent except Mormons.” He also says that Mormons and Democrats are more in line than people believe:

…Dabakis is optimistic that the Democratic Party has a message that can resonate with the LDS faithful. “On 90 percent of the issues, we’re on common ground, he said, adding that sometimes Democrats inadvertently sent messages that were antithetical to Mormon sensibilities.”

Howell cited a recent BYU/University of Pennsylvania study that showed red-state Utahns and blue-state New Yorkers shared the same views on social issues 77 percent of the time and on economic issues 69 percent of the time.

Dabakis has also been coordinating with State Senator Scott Howell, a Mormon Democrat who says he was “appalled at how the right wing has hijacked my faith in this state.” Hopefully he and Dabakis can start steering the church at large, so invested in passing California’s Proposition 8, toward to light of LGBT rights.

Comments

  1. says

    “sometimes Democrats inadvertently sent messages that were antithetical to Mormon sensibilities.”

    yeah. Sensibilities like logic, reason, factual evidence, compassion, inclusivity and understanding.

    *yawn*

  2. Andalusian Dog says

    Jim is one of the most charismatic, intelligent, and good-humored people I know — all of which covers up a gritty, no b-s fighter’s mentality. When I tell you he can make ANYONE come around to seeing things his way, I mean ANYONE. The LDS will be a challenge but if anyone can do it, Jim can and will.

    It is a very VERY VERY good thing for the LGBT community and for the Democratic party that he’s won the chairmanship.

  3. Mike says

    “…Dabakis is optimistic that the Democratic Party has a message that can resonate with the LDS faithful. “On 90 percent of the issues, we’re on common ground, he said,…”

    Yeah, but it’s the 10% that we Gays and Lesbians are concerned about – and don’t look for Mormons to toss aside their “religous values” for political expediency anytime soon.

    “…adding that sometimes Democrats inadvertently sent messages that were antithetical to Mormon sensibilities.””

    Antithetical messages like “all people are equal”, “everyone has the civil right to marriage” and, of course, “do unto others as they would have them do unto you..”

    They’ll keep pouring money into anti-Gay issues, now they can work it from both sides..

  4. Gregv says

    It’s silly to put quantify with a number like “90%” how much two groups (like Dems and Mormons) are allied. It could be made to be any conceivable number depending on the “questions.”

    If “questions #1 through #9″ are “The world is round” and “A dollar should equal 100 cents” and “murder should be illegal,” then it should be no surprise that virtually everybody agrees on 90%+ of issues.
    If that hypothetical question #10 is something like “should the LDS church be allowed to force it’s religion on everyone else by law,” and we don’t agree, then I don’t see that “agreeing on 90%” is anything to celebrate.
    I guess its just relatively nonsensical rhetoric, suggesting that we can make progress with more discussion. And if he can help the church leaders to stop dehumanizing gay people, then that’s certainly a good thing.

  5. Attmay says

    The work that should be done is to keep Mormons out of the Democratic party. And the Republican party. And the Libertarian party. And the Green party. And every other aspect of public life.

  6. David B. says

    This is outstanding any way you look at it — the more we ignore religious entities the more we remain misunderstood — we do have common ground — I can barely count the number of ex-mormon gay and lesbian people I know and since I have gotten to know them I am convinced there is more work to be done here. Nothing is impossible.

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