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Former DNC gay liaison sues Dean and the DNC

Last year there was a big dustup when Howard Dean “restructured” the DNC, and there was a series of actions that some say resulted in the retaliatory firing of Donald Hitchcock  (the former director of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council of the DNC) after his partner, activist Paul Yandura, wrote a scathing open letter to gay Dems questioning Howard Dean and the DNC’s lack of effort in fighting state marriage amendments and overall strategy.

Howard Dean and the DNC are now being sued by Hitchcock, citing “discrimination and retaliation on the basis of his sexual orientation, in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.”

The PDF of the suit is here. Obviously this is going to get hot. Read Donald Hitchcock’s statement about this after the flip. Via Americablog:


As a lifelong, loyal Democrat I am filing this complaint against the DNC because the road to social justice sometimes demands that our political family and friends be held accountable when they do not act for the common good.

Respecting the Democrats’ opportunity to regain the majority in both Houses of Congress, I remained silent throughout the last year about my illegal termination and subsequent ongoing defamation from the DNC. Prior to filing this lawsuit I tried several times to settle this matter in a reasonable and professional manner, but the DNC refused and continues to attempt to discredit me and my political opinions.

Prior to my position at the DNC, I worked for 10 years advocating for equality for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. When I was recruited by the DNC to serve as the Director of its Gay and Lesbian leadership Council, I was told that my professional and activist background would be helpful to achieving Governor Dean’s goals. Once I joined the DNC, however, senior staff made it clear that they had no interest in LGBT equality. Instead, Democratic LGBT constituents and employees are treated as second-class citizens, whom the DNC tries to ignore unless fundraising is involved ?reducing the community to a little more than an ATM. As a DNC employee, I tried to push the organization to treat the LGBT community with greater respect. The DNC ultimately terminated me after my long-term partner criticized the Democrats’ lack of a strategy to combat anti-gay ballot measures – a critique made without my input and which the DNC recently admitted was accurate.

It is clear that the DNC fundraisers have no intention of ceasing their personal attacks against me. Their goal is to keep LGBT money flowing to the DNC, no matter what. For some, if truth is not convenient they find it expendable for the cause. They have spent time researching my political and charitable contributions and even claimed publicly that I was not a loyal Democrat since I did not donate a part of my salary back to the party. Social justice is not for sale, nor should it have to be bought.

The LGBT press has rightly criticized the DNC for its failure to recognize and promote basic human rights for the community. Rather than respond to legitimate questions about DNC policy and strategy impacting the LGBT community, the DNC has retaliated against publications and former employees by attacking the messengers personally. The DNC now has fewer openly gay and lesbian members than before the 2004 election. This is not progress.

I expect my party to embody the Democratic values of fairness and honesty. It is important that the DNC be able to acknowledge its failings and live up to its promise to protect the human rights of the LGBT community as we move forward. To help attain this goal, I cannot remain silent on matters of policy and substance.

Out for Democracy has more.

First, Hitchcock says that he was fired because of comments made by his domestic partner Paul Yandura, and that in doing so his relationship was treated differently than heterosexual employees, who historically have not been held responsible for the actions of a husband or wife. Hitchcock backs this up with specific examples of heterosexual employees who were not held to the standard he says was applied to him.

Second, Hitchcock claims that LGBT employees including himself, were paid less than their heterosexual counterparts for equal jobs with equal responsibilites. Hitchcock backs this up with two specific examples of LGBT employees being paid less than their heterosexual counterparts.

Third, Hitchcock claims that in order to justify his unjustifiable firing to fellow DNC staff members, the leadership of the DNC spread false rumors about the reason he was fired including completely fabricated charges that he made racist comments in the workplace. Hitchcock has as evidence of this DNC staff members who were told these false rumors which damaged reputation.

Whew. If the DNC has a response, I’ll put it up.

* DNC Not Ready to Make Nice

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding