News (USA)

Pressure builds on Democrats to include marriage equality in party platform

Pressure builds on Democrats to include marriage equality in party platform

WASHINGTON — The Obama campaign released a statement Thursday reiterating the president’s support for marriage equality, but falling just short of endorsing a call for its inclusion in the official party platform.

“The President’s personal views on marriage equality are known. The President and the Party are committed to crafting a platform that reflects the President’s positions and the values of the Party,” an Obama campaign spokesperson said Thursday in an email to the Washington Blade.

In a follow-up email, the campaign spokesperson clarified that it’s not fair to characterize the remarks as an endorsement of including a same-sex marriage plank in the Democratic Party platform.

In an interview with ABC News in May, President Obama announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, saying he “just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” But he hasn’t publicly endorsed the idea of including marriage equality in the platform despite support from many Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren, four former Democratic National Committee chairs and 22 U.S. senators.

The 15 platform committee members were named last week and are set to hold a national hearing on the platform on the weekend of July 27 in Minneapolis, Minn. On Wednesday, the Washington Blade published statements from three voting members and two non-voting members of committee who said they’ll advocate for such language in the platform.

Earlier on Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced he’s leading a group of 27 House Democrats, including a majority of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, seeking an endorsement of same-sex marriage in the platform.

In a Washington Blade interview prior to the statement from the campaign, Schiff said he wanted to see the Obama campaign join the call for such language and praised the president for his leadership on marriage equality.

“I think it certainly would be very helpful for the presidential campaign to be supportive and to acknowledge that this is something that ought to be part and parcel of what the Democratic Party stands for, but I think all of this really comes from the president’s leadership,” Schiff said. “It wouldn’t be happening without the president’s leadership, and I certainly haven’t sensed any resistance whatsoever – from the White House or elsewhere — to our efforts.”

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom of Marry, is among those calling for a marriage equality plank in the platform, but said he thinks Obama “made his position clear” on the issue when he endorsed same-sex marriage in the ABC News interview.

“The president has made his position clear — he, like a majority of Americans, a substantial majority of independents, and an overwhelming majority of Democrats — supports the freedom to marry,” Wolfson said. “Freedom to Marry launched the call for a freedom to marry plank in the platform, continues to work hard to get it done, and is confident that we will succeed and the Democratic Party will be on record and on the right side of history.”

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