Draft of Democratic Party platform includes plank supporting the freedom to marry
July 30, 2012
Last night, the Democratic Party platform drafting committee approved a number of pro-LGBT stances for the first draft of the party platform, including a plank supporting the freedom to marry. Chris Johnson first reported the decision in The Washington Blade this morning. He wrote:
Retiring gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who sits on the committee, told the Washington Blade on Monday that the 15-member panel unanimously backed the inclusion of a marriage equality plank after a national hearing over the weekend in Minneapolis, in which several witnesses testified in favor of such language.
"I was part of a unanimous decision to include it," Frank said. "There was a unanimous decision in the drafting committee to include it in the platform, which I supported, but everybody was for it."
The news comes just two days after representatives from Freedom to Marry and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network testified before the drafting committee in Minneapolis about why the party should support the freedom to marry for all couples. Our National Campaign Director, Marc Solomon (full testimony here) - as well as Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and her wife Karen - spoke about the importance of marriage and why the party should take a stand in support of same-sex couples. Representatives from a number of other groups - including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Stonewall Democrats - testified as well.
Solomon applauded the news about the decision, saying:
We are grateful for the Platform Drafting Committee's unanimous vote to include the freedom to marry in its draft of the Democratic Party platform. As I testified to the Committee on Friday, the Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans. We are proud that the Committee is including language that will ensure the Party is leading the way forward in supporting marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families.
Earlier this month, the Morgan family participated in our joint campaign with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, which spotlights the specific ways that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act hurts gay and lesbian service members and their families. They shared their story in a video for the campaign, explaining that CW2 Morgan is undergoing intravenous chemotherapy in her battle with incurable stage-four breast cancer and that, should she not survive her battle with cancer, DOMA will restrict Karen from receiving the survivors' benefits that she desperately needs to take care of their 5-year-old daughter. Read more about their testimony here, and watch them share their story in this video.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also commented on the decision. She said in a statement:
By including marriage equality in our platform, the committee has reaffirmed the fundamental American value of equal protection and civil rights for every American. After working to advance the cause of marriage equality for many years, it is a point of personal pride to see Democrats unite around the principle of respect and dignity for all families. ... Our platform will be based on the values of the American people and will keep moving our country forward to progress and prosperity for all.
This year, Freedom to Marry has led the effort to encourage Democratic elected officials to speak out about the freedom to marry in our Democrats: Say I Do campaign. This decision signals a huge success for the organization and is a landmark step forward in the campaign to win marriage nationwide. The Democrats: Say I Do campaign has seen incredible momentum this year, with outspoken support from 22 Democratic Senators, the Chair of this year's Democratic National Convention, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Caroline Kennedy, and nine other co-chairs of President Obama's reelection campaign - plus more than 40,000 Americans who have added their names to our online petition.
Freedom to Marry applauds the Platform Drafting Committee's decision and urges the rest of the Democratic party to sign onto the official platform as is. The platform will become finalized and official in August at the Democratic National Convention on September 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina.