State Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Holladay, said her district leans Republican and many voters are against gay marriage and aren't hugely supportive of gay rights. But she doubted any of her constituents would care about Dabakis' sexuality.
"He's a successful businessman who cares about economic development, and he wants to reach out and include people who have a variety of views," Morgan said.
Another reason voters won't care is because, well, he's not a Republican, said Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum.
"Those who know about the chairman are the people who elected him," Ruzicka said. "He's in the right party for his lifestyle choice, and it won't matter as long as he doesn't become a Republican."
Bryan Fischer, of the Mississippi-based American Family Association, said Dabakis' election "is further confirmation that the battle to defend natural marriage is over in the Democratic Party."
But Dubakis' success is encouraging to gay rights activists "because it happened in a conservative stronghold," said Michael Cole-Schwartz, of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign.
Alex Slater, a Democratic political consultant with SKDKnickerbocker in Washington, D.C., said it indicates that voters aren't going to be swayed by the same divisive talking points.
"The social issues that have been exploited by Republicans, often in a dishonest way, are no longer very relevant," Slater said.
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