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Democratic National Committee Funded Anti-Gay Voters’ Guide

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Jul 21, 2008

The Democratic Party's Chief of Staff and CEO for the upcoming Democratic National Convention, Leah Daughtry, has her hand on the party's rudder as Democrats seek to bring "values voters" the message that Democrats, too, are people of faith.

Daughtry is a Pentecostal minister, and, as described in a New York Times article published on July 20, swhe has brought the passion of her sermons and her church celebrations to her role as Howard Dean's chief of staff for the DNC.

But there may be a darker side to the story for GLBT Americans. The New York Times article related how Howard Dean had gone along with Daughtry's idea for an interdenominational group called "Faith in Action" (FIA) that would study and come up with ideas for the issue of how to connect with religious voters.

One such action was the FIA-financed "Faith and Values Voters Guide," created by Alabama's Democratic party chairman and distributed before the Nov., 2006 election. The Voter's Guide contained a section concerned with a "covenant for the future," which included a plan to "require public schools to offer Bible literacy as part of their curriculum," as well as to "defeat any efforts to redefine marriage or provide the benefits of marriage to a same-sex union"--language that seems to target civil unions and domestic partnerships as well as marriage equality, and which constitutes what gay and lesbian families who support the Democratic party might regard as a slap in the face.

In The New York Times article, Daughtry, upon hearing the text of the "covenant," says that FIA did not oversee and insist upon approval of everything that state Democratic organizations spent the funding provided by the national party, and goes on to say that, "The wonderful thing about the Democratic Party is that we have room for all kinds of opinions."

But other news sources have brought to light suggestions that, despite the upcoming Democratic National Convention's inclusion of an LGBT caucus, Daughtry has not been a friend to gay and lesbian families--some of the Democratic party's most ardent supporters.

Indeed, former head of the DNC's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, Donald Hitchcock, brought suit against the DNC and Howard Dean, among others, for what he claimed was his discriminatory and retaliatory firing after his life partner, Paul Yandura, distributed an open letter criticizing the Democratic party for doing little to prevent a rash of constitutional amendments targeting any possibility of eventual marriage equality in a number of states by means of re-writing state constitutions in a manner that specifically excluded gay and lesbian families from the benefits and protections of matrimony.

During the lawsuit's trial, evidence in the form of emails between Yandra and Democratic operative Minyon Moore emerged that indicated that Daughtry had been playing blacks against gays. As quoted at the blog Michelle Malkin, the gay magazine GBM reported that Yandura wrote the following to Minyon:

"Unfortunately, I have heard again from several sources that it is Leah inside the DNC which has decided to make this a black vs. gay issue and not the gay caucus or black caucus leadership."

Added Yandura, "This [is] a big problem and I have reached out to the NAACP leadership and need your help."

The Michell Malkin item quoted from a subsequent email by Yandura, to another individual, in which Yandura wrote:

"Just so you know: I have ratcheted up the NAACP thing. I spoke to Minyon Moore yesterday who is very close to Leah Daughtry."

Continued the quote from the email, "I told Minyon that I was ashamed that Leah was making this a black vs. gay issue and using the NAACP as a weapon. I threatened to expose the entire thing to the national media if she did not stop."

Michelle Malkin also quotes from GBM's reportage on the Blade having gotten hold of emails written by an official with the National Stonewall Democrats, in which the official, who was not named, reportedly inveighed against Daughtry for inciting tension between gays and blacks, and commented, "Imagine what Dean could do if people like Leah were confronted for their bigotry and fired."

Michelle Malkin, along with other news sources such as Queerty, carried the story of Blade journalist Kevin Naff, who claimed that a pair of lawyers sent by Daughtry confronted himself and Lynne Browne, the Blade's publisher, with "red-faced cursing and threatening of lawsuits" after Naff wrote a critical op-ed piece that appeared at the Blade.

In the same article, Queerty spoke of also having what the article described as "less-than-cordial" contact with people from the DNC.

"And when we say 'less-than-cordial,'" the Queerty item said, "we mean these people were livid and sounded certifiable for all their paranoia."

Charlie Kimmet, one of Daughtry's lawyers, disagreed with Naff's description of the meeting, saying it was "not at all contentious," Queerty reported.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2008-07-27 21:26:26

    This is a complete outrage! Republicans keep their party in-line with a whip! Why can’t we? We cannot allow rogue leaders to split our party, and severely weaken both black and gay chances for advancement. WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER! The DNC should issue a statement of condemnation of the Alabama Democratic Party, and demand that they stop distributing those guides. If they refuse, the DNC should cut funding. To think we actually wonder why Republicans are able to win elections with the crap they pull. WE NEED TO GET ORGANIZED! GAYS AND BLACKS INCLUDED!

  • , 2008-08-25 17:13:48

    I have been giving money both to the DNC and to the Barack Obama campaign. Now I understand that a high ranking DNC member Leah Daughtry is funding anti Gay, Creationist, and Anti Choice agendas within the Democratic party. What is happening to the Democrats? I’m not giving one more cent nor am I willing to support any Democrat until I get a response about this issue. I’m encouraging all of my friends and colleagues to withhold financial support from the DNC and from the Barack Obama campaign until we get a response about this outrage.

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