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Freedom to Marry pushes for Democratic Party platform to include marriage equality

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

As today’s marriage equality developments demonstrate, the marriage movement is wise to focus its attention on state legislatures, where real change can be accomplished through persistence and education.  One of the most important facets of the marriage movement is state-by-state gains: the more Americans who live in communities where gay and lesbian couples can marry, the more that learn what marriage really means to these couples.

Nevertheless, American government is a federalist system, and nationwide, federal activism is just as important as state activism.  Today, Freedom to Marry launched a petition campaign urging the Democratic Party to adopt full support of marriage equality in its 2012 platform, which will be voted on at the Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina in September.  Here is Freedom to Marry’s proposed platform 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.

Freedom to Marry’s position is important because it is unequivocally time for the Democratic Party to support full marriage rights for all.  Polls throughout 2011 have demonstrated that a majority of Americans supports marriage equality.  Even more strikingly, a CNN poll found that among Democrats, a full 64 percent are in support of marriage equality, along with 55 percent of independents.  When almost two-thirds of a party’s voters support an issue, it’s time for that party to include the issue in its platform.

Even more significantly, Freedom to Marry’s suggestion wouldn’t just be the right thing for Democrats to do, it’s the smart thing to do politically as well.  As we’ve written about before here on P8TT, there is no reason that marriage equality should be seen as a partisan issue, and Republicans like Ted Olson (and the Republican senators who voted for marriage equality today in New Jersey) deserve commendation for their support.  Nevertheless, it is to the benefit of Democrats to be seen as the party that supports an issue that so many Americans (and particularly young Americans) are in favor of.

As we reported here at P8TT, Australia’s Labour Party amended its platform in early December to include full marriage equality.  Just yesterday, two new marriage bills were introduced in the Australian legislature, one by a Labour politician and another by a member of the Greens party.  This isn’t to say that gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry in Australia any time soon: none of the bills has the support yet to pass.  But with a new poll showing 62 percent support for marriage equality in the country (a number that jumps to an incredible 81 percent among voters aged 18-24), the bills mark a promising development.  Labour, the ruling party, opposed marriage equality until just a few months ago; now, one of their members of parliament has introduced legislation to make equality a reality.  Could the same thing happen in the U.S.?  First, one of our political must amend its platform.  For the Democrats, it looks like that time might finally have come.


  • 1. thark  |  February 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Once CA's odious Flop 8 is pulled from the irrational life-support 'stay', a full 1/4 of all Americans will be living as citizens of a Marriage equality state THIS YEAR, AND MOST LIKELY BEFORE NOVEMBER!

    (that being the case, NC's illegal "constitutional" ballot measure is no sure thing, even if it DOES manage to pass in May 2012…)

    Like it or not.

  • 2. Bob  |  February 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    YES!!!!!!!! Freedom to Marry"s proposed platform language, is strong " the gov't has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for family members"

    the time is NOW full federal inclusion go America

  • 3. Eric  |  February 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I'm still evolving on the issue, but our household is not donating any money to parties that don't support marriage equality.

  • 4. Tasty Salamanders  |  February 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Just a note: It's the Labor Party, not Labour. While we are a country that likes it's "u"s the party was in fact re-named by an American-born Australian politician so uses American spelling.

    Also I am happy to note that the Federal Labor MP to introduced the marriage equality bill comes from my electrol district.

  • 5. Rick  |  February 14, 2012 at 6:18 am

    On a related note, here's our big fat gay agenda:

  • 6. grod  |  February 14, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Rick, that is one simple powerful statement. Suggest that Rick Santorum, having taken a slight lead in the polls, read it G

  • 7. Waxr  |  February 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I do not give much stock to polls which measure public opinion. How many Americans are for and against marriage equality does not tell us how the issue will do at the polls. What we need to know is how many likely voters are for or against marriage equality.

    Marriage equality has strong support from registered Democrats and the 18-24 age group. Unfortunately, Republicans have a better record at showing up to vote than Democrats do. And it is the 18-24 age group which has the worse record of voting. There goes your majority support argument.

  • 8. Rich  |  February 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Waxr, I'm sure, since I assume you are a marriage equality supporter, that you are aware and pleased that the various Republican primary/caucus events have had abysmal turnouts. Not sure about that better record to which you refer…not this year. With your continued support, we can turn even those recalcitrant Republicans around just as has happened in the legislatures of NY, Washington and New Jersey.

  • 9. fiona64  |  February 14, 2012 at 9:47 am

    This ^^.

    While F2M's goal is laudable, and I'm obviously a supporter of marriage equality, I think that it is a *bad* idea to do this. While Jacob is right that marriage equality shouldn't be a partisan issue, this would make it one. The GOP is already making their campaign about religion and morals instead of about substantive issues, and this would just give them more ammo. :-/

    BTW, to Rich's comment below about turnout for caucuses: a caucus is NOT a binding primary. Neither is a straw poll. People turn out in smaller numbers for those across the board.

    We can agree to disagree about whether or not this is a good idea, obviously. I just think that handing these jerkwads another weapon to twist and use against us is a bad plan.

  • 10. JBazinet  |  February 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Never underestimate the indifference of the average american voter. If polls show an incumbant Obama will win, no one will run out to the polls and a more motivated Republican base could win the day leaving the Dems wondering, "But he was a shoe-in….?!", or have we all forgotten what the polls prior to the passage of Prop 8 predicted?

    That being said, if marriage equality is to be a non-partisan issue, then why tack it onto the Democratic platform? Why give the Republicans a declared stance over which they can rally the base?

    The Republicans strategist will seize any opportunity to pick at the opposing platform and control the dialogue, and I would hate to lose a good block of votes from people who're "still evolving" in an election year when we need to focus on economics and the gains made in that field. That is what we need the Republicans talking about.

    Then, once we've secured the second term and ousted a few more Republicans, then we can focus on revising the platform.

  • 11. Eric  |  February 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

    So yet again the LGBT community has to give up something first. Why? When Obama was elected, the Democrats had the largest majorities in Congress in a generation. DOMA, DADT, and ENDA could all happened in the first 100-days of the administration, but they didn't. Why should we expect a second term without large majorities to be any better?

  • 12. Bob  |  February 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Eric,,,, what's the option!!!!!!!

  • 13. JBazinet  |  February 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    What we want to do is work at getting a majority.

    There are two types of conservatives: Fiscal Conservatives and Social Conservatives. Guess which ones we don't want coming to the polls because "those damn Democrats want to force gay marriage down our throats"?

    The Democrats have been increasingly supportive of marriage equality. It's basically a hidden platform. Bringing it to the table will only bring out people to vote whom we don't want voting.

  • 14. Eric  |  February 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    We want a majority? We had one before and nothing got done, other than Obama fired 435 gays and lesbians and filed court briefs comparing us to pederasts. Based on history, we are better off letting Democrats lose and getting scraps in a lame duck session.

  • 15. bythesea  |  February 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Very unwise thinking, and he did get DADT repeal and reversed DOJ policy on DOMA (eventually) resulting in an amazingly helpful brief in a DOMA case. The Democrats losing will result in decades of delay in progress on gay rights, not least of which would be because of the appointments of social conservative federal judges, not to mention two or three lifetime appointments to the SCOTUS (instead of two or three liberals in the alternative). I really hope no one on our side is quite so foolish…

  • 16. JBazinet  |  February 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Now THAT is some long range strategy!

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