Lawsuit exposes rift between gays and blacks at the DNC
Not surprisingly, gays and lesbians have favored the Democratic Party in recent elections. The Democratic platform, after all, commits the party to full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of the country. The Republican platform, on the other hand, proposes limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
But an increasingly nasty lawsuit against the DNC, brought by Donald Hitchcock after he was fired as the party’s gay and lesbian outreach director, has exposed the rift between gays and one of the party’s most important constituencies, African Americans.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean describes the rift in his deposition in the lawsuit, a portion of which was just recently posted on YouTube and is causing more than a little political heartburn as the party prepares to nominate Barack Obama as its first African American for president.
In the video, Dean describes how he has tried to be a peacemaker between gays and lesbians and prominent African American leaders, led by onetime Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, who had objected to goals and timetables for gay and lesbian delegates to the party’s national convention.
“I wanted equal representation for gay and lesbian Americans, and I wanted to achieve it in a way that wasn’t offensive to the history of the civil rights movement,” Dean says in the deposition, which was videotaped in March but only made public a week ago.
Hitchcock’s lawsuit, bad enough politically for the Democratic Party, has taken another turn for the worst for the DNC, at least in terms of publicity during an election season. Negotiations for a possible settlement collapsed last Thursday and the case is now headed to trial - unless, of course, settlement talks resume.
However, in a letter sent this week to the DNC’s lawyer, John Hardin Young, Hitchcock’s attorney, Tara Jensen, claims Young assaulted her following a mediation session in the Superior court for the District of Columbia. In the letter, Jensen claims Young spit on her face and told she should “know her place.”
Hitchcock was fired by the DNC in May 2006 after his domestic partner sent an open letter to gay Democrats criticizing Dean and suggesting that gays should temporarily withhold donations to the Democratic Party.
In his suit, filed 11 months after the firing, Hitchcock alleges that the DNC discriminated against him and that he was a target of retaliation and defamation - allegations the DNC has repeatedly denied.
NPR: Lawsuit Exposes Rift Between Gays, Blacks in DNC