11 dem state chairs endorsing ‘freedom to marry’

Author: Alexander Burns
Publication: Politico
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2012

Click here to read the full text at Politico

Eleven Democratic state party chairs will announce their support today for a proposed "freedom to marry" plank in the 2012 Democratic platform.

In a statement shared with POLITICO, the group Freedom to Marry plans to roll out support from state leaders including California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh and New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs.

"Nearly a year ago, New Yorkers stood united in supporting full marriage equality for all loving and committed families, and Democrats led the way," Jacobs says in the statement. "We now see first-hand how marriage improves the lives of gay couples and their families, and strengthens businesses and communities throughout the Empire State. Marriage equality is simply the right thing to do, and that's why I strongly believe that the Democratic Party should stand united for a freedom to marry plank in our national Democratic Party platform."

The other seven state chairs backing the measure are Ken Martin of Minnesota, Meredith Wood Smith of Oregon, Jake Perkinson of Vermont, Mike Tate of Wisconsin, Dwight Pelz of Washington, John Wisniewski of New Jersey and Joan Wagnon of Kansas.

That group covers states that have already enacted gay marriage laws (New York and Vermont, for example), states that are unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future (Texas and Kansas) and one state, New Jersey, where there's currently a fight underway to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a same-sex marriage law.

The "freedom to marry" plank would state that Democrats support "the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities and protections under the law, including the freedom to marry." If it's included in the Democratic platform, that language would make the official stance of the Democratic Party more explicitly supportive of gay unions than President Obama is himself.

Endorsers of the language include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic National Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa and a number of Democratic U.S. senators.

Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson said in a statement that the 11 party chairs endorsing the plank "represent diverse states and a diverse range of constituents, including the biggest states in America from coast to coast, critical swing state voters in Wisconsin, and voters combating a cruel proposed antigay constitutional amendment in Minnesota."

"These party leaders know that including the freedom to marry in the 2012 national Democratic platform is not just the right thing to do, it's the right thing politically," he said.