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Utah Democratic Party chairman Jim Dabakis steps down, cites health issues

Monday, March 24, 2014
Chris Detrick, The Salt Lake Tribune/APUtah Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, proposes to Stephen Justesen, his partner of over twenty-five years, during a party at Club Sound Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

Chris Detrick, The Salt Lake Tribune/AP
Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis, right, proposes to Stephen Justesen, his partner of over twenty-five years, on June 26, 2013, during a party in Salt Lake City. The couple married Dec. 20.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis says he is stepping down from that post Monday afternoon to address medical issues.

Dabakis, believed to be the first openly gay leader of a political party in Utah, announced his resignation in a statement Monday.

He did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the medical issues.

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After a U.S. district judge found the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in December, Dabakis married Stephen Justeson, his partner of 25 years, at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office on December 20, 2013.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January granted the state an emergency stay, halting same-sex marriage in Utah.

The state senator from Salt Lake City says he is still running for re-election this fall.

Vice chairwoman Josie Valdez will lead the party temporarily until the its governing body picks a permanent replacement at the April nominating convention.

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