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Democrats approve marriage equality inclusive platform

Next step is approval by delegates in Charlotte
CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Sunday, August 12, 2012
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A committee of more than 100 Democrats unanimously approved on Saturday a version of their party’s platform that includes a plank endorsing marriage equality as well as other pro-LGBT language.

The full platform committee, which consists of around 120 Democrats, gave the OK to the manifesto following a meeting in Detroit, Mich., that was chaired by retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, the first woman to reach the rank of three-star general, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. During the several hour long meeting, members offered views on principles to advocate for within the party and proposed amendments to the platform.

Language on marriage equality — which is being included in the Democratic Party platform for the first time — was accepted without amendment and without significant discussion.

Among the committee members who delivered remarks was Scott Dibble, a gay state senator from Minnesota, who said he’s “extremely pleased” with the marriage equality plank, saying the language “should be taken as an affirmation on something that we all value and cherish, and that is what marriage means and that marriage really matters.”

“This has certainly been a journey for many people in this country,” Dibble said. “It’s been a journey for our president, and I’m very proud of our president [for] having stood and said all families matter. And Mr. Chair and Madam Chair and members, young people are looking for a political home right now and that has become one of the defining moral questions of our time and our moment.”

Speaking with the Washington Blade by phone after the vote, Dibble said he wasn’t surprised the full platform committee accepted the marriage equality without any challenges.

“I wasn’t surprised, but I was pretty happy that there was no discussion, no controversy,” Dibble said. “I wasn’t sure whether or not I was expected any, but it was great. There seemed to be a lot of good feeling and felt a lot of really positive energy around on the the idea of including the plank.”

The Washington Blade first reported on July 30 that the Democratic Party platform drafting committee had agreed to adopt a marriage equality plank in the platform as well as language rejecting the Defense of Marriage Act and affirming the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The platform hasn’t officially been made public, nor has any language related to LGBT issues. However, language first reported by Buzzfeed and later confirmed by the Blade has shown it affirms marriage equality, rejects DOMA while respecting religious liberties.

“We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law,” the language states. “We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.”

The language continues, “We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”

Other pro-LGBT language related to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and bullying was also left intact by the committee. Some advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, were hoping for an explicit endorsement of anti-bullying bills like the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe School Improvement Act, but that language isn’t in the platform.

Continue reading at the Washington Blade

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