Blades: Democrats abolish gay outreach for ‘integrated’ approach

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Tom Dempsey

Feb 4, 2006, 2:56:37 PM2/4/06
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Democrats abolish gay outreach for ‘integrated’ approach
Gay Dem resigns in protest over Dean’s decision

Friday, February 03, 2006

WASHINGTON — Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean has
abolished the Democratic Party’s constituent outreach desks, including
the post of director of lesbian and gay outreach.

A DNC spokesperson said Dean replaced the outreach director positions
with a new program called the American Majority Partnership, which
integrates efforts to address the concerns of minorities into all of the
DNC’s departments and offices. The little noticed move took place last year.

"It’s an expansion of what we had before," said Damien LaVera, the DNC
spokesperson assigned to discuss gay rights issues.

But the former chair of the DNC’s Gay & Lesbian Americans Caucus doesn’t
see it that way. Gay Democratic Party activist and fundraiser Jeff Soref
of New York City said he resigned from the DNC and from his position as
chair of the gay caucus in August largely because of Dean’s decision to
eliminate the gay outreach desk.

"It took us many years to win that position, have it funded and make it
effective," Soref said.

Soref said he told Dean "it was not credible" to simply assume that
combining all constituent groups into one program without a specific gay
coordinator or director would be effective because it would likely
result in less attention to the specific concerns of gay Democrats.

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