August 13, 2012
By Matt Baume
The freedom to marry is poised to take center stage at the Democratic National Convention in September. We’ll take a look at exactly what the Democratic party is proposing. With four states facing major showdowns over marriage this November, advocates are already looking ahead to 2013. And what’s next after a setback for marriage in Hawaii?
It’s really happening: the Democratic National Committee is ready to add marriage equality to the official party platform. This is a huge deal, but it’s not done yet. First, it has to make its way through the Platform Committee in Detroit, which met this past weekend. And then it gets a vote at the Charlotte convention, when the party meets to formally nominate Obama starting September 4th. You can expect marriage to be a major topic of discussion at the Democratic National Convention.
The draft language of the plank says, in part, “We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.” While affirming religious freedom, it goes on, “We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments,” and “We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.”
This move by the Democratic Party reflects a national mainstreaming of marriage equality. This is no longer a divisive wedge issue for Democrats — over a dozen national polls show that a majority of Americans support the freedom to marry.
Our growing support will have its next major test in November, when Washington, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota put marriage equality up to a vote. If you live in those states, now is the time to get involved. And if you don’t, you probably know someone who does. Make sure you talk to them about why the freedom to marry is so important.
Looking ahead, Delaware might be the next state to push for marriage equality. Governor Jack Markell was a backer of last year’s successful effort to enact civil unions. This week he told reporters that he supports efforts to upgrade the state to full marriage recognition in 2013.
There was a setback in Hawaii this week, with a federal judge upholding the state’s ban on gay and lesbian couples getting married. Advocates for equality, including Governor Neil Abercrombie, plan to appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this year, that ruled in AFER’s case that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
And as AFER’s case continues its progress to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Prop 8 proponents have been dealt another setback. This time, it’s a proposed fine of nearly fifty thousand dollars for eighteen counts of improper campaign finance reporting.