N.H. sen. shaheen endorses gay marriage platform for democratic party

Author: Paul Briand
Publication: The Examiner
Publication Date: August 1st, 2012

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The Democratic Party is moving toward adding gay marriage to its 2012 campaign platform, and New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is all for it.

"Equality and freedom are at the core of who we are as Americans, and that means freedom for all of us, not just some of us. Our party has long been a leader on issues of justice and this reaffirms to the country that we are working on behalf of all our families, gay and straight," Shaheen said in a statement.

"I am proud to see the Democrats take an important step in standing up for the rights of same-sex couples. I urge the full platform committee to adopt this pro-gay marriage plank in August."

According to the Democrat from Lee, she was the first U.S. senator to join the effort to include the endorsement of gay marriage on the Democratic platform that will be ratified at the national convention in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 3 to 6.

In February she backed the Freedom to Marry organization's draft language, which is as follows:

The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.

As governor from 1997 to 2003, Shaheen opposed same-sex marriage.

As a U.S. senator, she has favored legislation giving same-sex couples marriage equality and voted to repeal the don't-ask-don't-tell rule that guided homosexual behavior in the military.

She has described as "unfortunate" efforts by the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal New Hampshire law that permits same-sex marriage. So far, those efforts have been unsuccessful, but House Speaker William O'Brien vows to bring it up again in 2013.

In May, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to say that gay couples should be able to marry.

Do you Democrats out there think this is a good idea for the Democratic Party platform? Will it help Democrats in the 2012 election?