State senator refuses to march in Days of ’47 Parade amidst controversy

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Jim Dabakis, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, spends three hours each week in a kindergarten classroom. (Photo courtesy Dabakis press office)
Jim Dabakis, former chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, at a rally. Dabakis announced he will not be marching in the Days of ’47 parade because the organization denied Mormons Building Bridges from marching. (Courtesy Dabakis press office)

Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis will not march in the Days of ’47 parade because of the decision by parade organizers to deny the Mormons Building Bridges organization from participating.

In a press release, Dabakis explained his decision. “Given the controversy over ‘Mormons Building Bridges’ (a group I love and admire), I have decided that there is the possibility that my participation might divert attention away from the heroes of the parade, the thousands of volunteers who work so hard for so long to make this one of America’s great parades,” he said.

According to its website, “Mormons Building Bridges is dedicated to conveying love and acceptance to same-sex-attracted and LGBTQI individuals.”

Days of ’47 said it is its policy to turn down groups that could cause political controversy.

Dabakis, known for his outspoken nature, has a unique relationship with conservative Utah. After attending BYU and serving an LDS mission, Dabakis went on to become the first openly gay politician to be a Utah party chairman of any party before resigning for health reasons in March 2014.

He was also among the Utahns who took advantage of the brief period, in late 2013, when same-sex marriages were performed in Salt Lake County, marrying his husband Stephen during that time.

Although Dabakis does not plan to march in the parade, he still plans on watching.

“Maybe things will work out better another year,” he said. “Again, I wish the best year ever for the 2014 Days of ’47 and will be elbowing for my usual spot on Main Street.”

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