Today, Freedom to Marry announced in a news release that it will be pushing the Democratic Party to adopt full marriage equality in its 2012 party platform -- despite that the position is not held by the leader of the Democratic Party, President Obama. Freedom to Marry's position is supported by other LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Stonewall Democrats.
"We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities, and protections 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."
HRC vice president for communications Fred Sainz told Metro Weekly, "HRC supports the inclusion of marriage equality in the party's platform. Like we have in past years, we will ask to testify before the Platform Committee and urge them to do so." Sainz noted that HRC has been testifying to seek inclusion of LGBT equality language in the Democratic Party platform since 1996, although, when asked to clarify HRC's position to the platform committee on marriage equality, he stated, "This is the first time that the issue will be raised proactively."
Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson said in a statement, "The Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans. It's now time for the national party to be true to its values and its voters and go unequivocally on record for the freedom to marry."
Rea Carey, executive director of NGLTF, told Metro Weekly in a statement, "As an organization that fights for the full equality of LGBT people and our families, and for recognition of our full humanity, the Task Force supports such a proposed plank for the Democratic platform."
She added, "We'd also hope to see the same plank be proposed to the Republican Party. While those running for president from the Republican Party have been offensively anti-LGBT, more and more Republicans are voicing their support for our families and for our right to marry. Both parties should be called to the same standards."
Stonewall Democrats executive director Jerame Davis also supports the platform plank, telling Metro Weekly, "As a founding member of the Respect for Marriage Coalition, NSD supports the marriage equality plank proposed by Freedom to Marry."
Contrary to Carey, however, he said, "Unlike the Republican Party platform, which will likely include a plank calling for a federal marriage amendment, the Democratic Party platform has been affirming and inclusive of LGBT Americans for years. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats nationwide support marriage equality and an even larger majority supports the overturning of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act. We believe it's time the Party platform reflects the values of the majority of Democrats and we will be encouraging the over 400 LGBT delegates expected at the Democratic National Convention this summer to support this plank as well."
In 2008, the relevant portion of the Democratic Party platform read:
We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections. We will enact a comprehensive bipartisan employment non-discrimination act. We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us.
A spokesperson from the Obama campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.