Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Democrats Move to Include Gay Marriage in Party Platform

Democrats appear ready to embrace same-sex marriage as part of their party platform, a policy shift that reflects the rapidly growing acceptance of gay rights in mainstream politics.
Party officials met over the weekend in Minneapolis and approved the first step to amend their platform. In two weeks, the entire platform committee will vote on the matter at a meeting scheduled in Detroit. Then, if approved as expected, it would move on to convention delegates in Charlotte, N.C., for final approval in September.
According to Democrats who were briefed on the vote in Minneapolis, there was no objection when the issue came up. Though the language that was voted on still could be revised, party officials do not anticipate any major obstacles going forward.
The platform language approved over the weekend also included a condemnation of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages.
The Democratic Party’s move comes more than two months after President Obama personally backed the rights of same-sex couples to wed, making the action decidedly less controversial than it could have been had the party been in conflict with its leader.
The president’s reversal — he had said previously that while he could not support same-sex marriage, his views on the issue were “evolving” — was a significant move. No sitting president had ever before said that gays and lesbians should have a legal right to marry.
Gay rights supporters praised the Democratic Party vote. “Like Americans from all walks of life, the Democratic Party has recognized that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve the right to have their relationships respected as equal under the law,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “I believe that one day very soon the platforms of both major parties will include similar language on this issue.
News of the platform amendment was first reported by The Washington Blade.
The Democratic Party platform that was drafted four years ago, when Mr. Obama was first running for president, called for “full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits and protections.”
But the platform stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriages, in part because Mr. Obama had said he remained opposed.
The issue remains a difficult one for some Democrats, particularly those in the midst of hard-fought re-election campaigns in conservative-leaning states. Those include Tim Kaine, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who is running for Senate in Virginia, and Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana.
Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, predicted that Democrats will regret the decision to include the marriage equality plank in their platform.
“There are many places in the country where Democratic candidates will not want to be identified with the gay-marriage party,” Mr. Sprigg said. “I think this is more politically correct than it is politically smart.”


Share your thoughts.
    • george
    • coastline
    No question that it's wrong and unconstitutional to limit legal marriage benefits to certain sex unions. This is an injustice, but with less negative consequences for society than what we will suffer under a federal government in which all 3 branches are controlled by the Republican Party. Countless Americans will suffer economically, for generations to come, if Romney is elected with a Republican Congress and today's Supreme Court. Making an isssue of gay marriage, no matter how just it may be, clearly gives Republicans an edge in November.


Gary Kelly said...

And that's the way it goes... public opinion shift followed by political platform shift. Makes you wonder why politicians are called leaders.

Coop said...

Am I supposed to say that's a good thing or can I roll my eyes because I have no patience for political party games ;-)

JustinO'Shea said...

I give up. . . .Are you. . . ? ;-)

Coop said...

Gary, I wish I thought of your "makes you wonder why politicians are called leaders" comment.
This platform thing is just part of their incessant talking.

Yank the tail off the donkey!

Gary Kelly said...

A woman on an Aussie TV show called The Drum last night - when the panel was commenting about Tasmania going it alone in Oz in terms of legalizing same sex marriage - said that it's a case of semantics; that the word "marriage" had an established meaning, which was the legal union of a man and a woman. She said that she had no objection to same sex unions but that such unions needed a new word. Seems to me that she's being pedantic about semantics. Meanings change. Language changes. One glaring example of that is the word 'gay'. To my way of thinking, the current meaning of marriage denotes the exclusion of same sex couples, which is a form of discrimination. You don't achieve equality by having marriage for heteros and marriage by another name for gays.