UPDATED: 22 Senators Endorse Freedom to Marry Plank in 2012 National Democratic Platform

3/2/2012

Note: This release has been updated to reflect the growing number of Senators announcing their support for a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party's Platform.  

Press Contact:
Angela Dallara
Communications Associate, Freedom to Marry
angela@freedomtomarry.org
646-430-3925

NEW YORK – Today, the Washington Blade reported that 22 senators have joined a growing number of politicians and advocates who have endorsed including a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party’s 2012 national platform. They include Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), John Kerry (D-MA), Frank Lautenburg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Udall (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Below is a statement from Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry:

"These 22 senators from across the nation all know firsthand why marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples, their kids, their kin, and our country.  Their support for Freedom to Marry's Say I Do campaign shows real momentum among Democrats for what the Democratic Party does at its best -- overcome discrimination and barriers and lead the way toward a more perfect union.  Freedom to Marry looks forward to working with these Democratic leaders, others joining the call, and those signing our online petition to put the Party and then America squarely on the side of liberty and justice for all."

Freedom to Marry drafted and introduced a plank as part of its Democrats: Say I Do campaign, launched February 13. Below is the proposed language:

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.

Today’s endorsements follow yesterday’s news broken by the Advocate that Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), all co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, endorsed a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party’s 2012 national platform and the announcement that New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman voiced his support for the plank in a letter to the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee. Earlier this week, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) became the first Senator to endorse the language, followed by former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Young Democrats of America Executive Director Emily Sussman, and Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have all endorsed the proposed plank. More than 29,000 Americans have signed Freedom to Marry’s open petition.

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Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.