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Howard Dean fires
gay outreach adviser

Howard Dean fires
gay outreach adviser

Adviser's partner had accused the Democartic Party chairman of failing to support gays.

On Tuesday, less than one week after the partner of the Democratic Party's gay outreach adviser had accused party chairman Howard Dean of failing to support gays and lesbians, Dean fired the adviser, Donald Hitchcock. Paul Yandura, Hitchcock's partner, had caused a stir when he sent an open letter on April 20 to gay Democrats criticizing Dean and the party for not getting involved in fighting state ballot measures seeking to ban same-sex marriage, reports the SouthernVoice.

Dean immediately hired gay former Democratic Party operative Brian Bond to replace Hitchcock, according to DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney, who called Bond a "proven leader." Bond served from 1996 to 2003 as executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a bipartisan national group that raises money and provides training to help elect openly gay candidates to public office.

Hitchcock declined comment Tuesday night, but Yandura accused Dean of retaliation. Hitchcock said he was considering consulting an attorney to decide whether to contest the firing.

"It was not retaliation," Finney told the Voice, referring to Hitchcock's dismissal. "It was decided we needed a change. We decided to hire a proven leader."

Finney said Dean and party leaders were developing plans to address efforts by Republicans to push for constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. She said Dean and DNC high-level staffers met last week with officials from national gay rights groups to discuss strategy for opposing the ballot measures. (The Advocate)

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