Former DNC Chairs Dean, Fowler, Grossman and Wilhelm Call for Marriage Plank in 2012 Dem Platform

4/4/2012

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today former DNC Chairs Howard Dean, Donald Fowler, Steve Grossman and David Wilhelm joined Freedom to Marry’s Democrats: Say I Do campaign to secure a freedom to marry plank in the 2012 Democratic Party platform. 

The former Party chairs issued the following statement:

We are proud that the Democratic Party fights for working families, economic justice, and equal opportunity for all.  Times change but our principles must always remain strong.  That is why, as former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, we stand with Freedom to Marry, 22 Democratic senators, Leader Nancy Pelosi, and more than 35,000 Americans in urging the Party to include a freedom to marry plank in the platform that is ratified at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September. 

Dean served as DNC Chair from 2005 to 2009, following his run for the presidency in 2004.  He was a five-term governor of Vermont, from 1991 to 2003.  Fowler served as DNC Chair from 1995 to 1997, during President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.  He also served as South Carolina state party executive director and chair, and was CEO of the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.  Grossman served as DNC Chair during President Bill Clinton’s second term, from 1997 to 1999.  He currently serves as the elected Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Wilhelm served as Chair during President Clinton’s first term, from 1993 to 1994.  Formerly a Chicago-based political strategist, Wilhelm ran the day-to-day operations of the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign.  

Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: 

"Fighting for families, freedom, and inclusion in the American Dream is the Democratic Party’s DNA -- its history, values, and vision for the country. That's why so many of the most influential Party leaders -- including, today four of the most recent Party chairs -- support a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party platform.  Freedom to Marry welcomes their names alongside the tens of thousands of Americans who have signed our ‘Democrats Say I Do’ online petition for a platform plank, part of the growing majority for marriage nationwide speaking up for the freedom to marry."

Freedom to Marry's proposed plank states:

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.

Public opinion data show that 69 percent of Democrats support the freedom to marry, as well as 59 percent of Independents and 53 percent of Americans overall (Gallup, May 5-8 2011).  A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (Feb. 29 through March 3, 2012) shows that voters who supported President Obama in 2008 are 8 times more likely to support a candidate who supports the freedom to marry than a candidate who opposes (40% to 5%); Democrats are more than 4 times more likely to support a candidate in favor of the freedom to marry (39% to 9%); and Independents are 2 times more likely to support a candidate in favor of the freedom to marry (22% to 11%).  Democrats are continuing to sign Freedom to Marry’s online petition here.  

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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.