September 4, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
The Democratic Party has just finished up its vote to ratify the party platform that includes support for marriage equality. It’s the first time in history that a major political party in the United States has endorsed marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. The platform’s final language on marriage – which includes the party’s opposition to the odious Defense of Marriage Act and support for its repeal through the Respect for Marriage Act – reads:
Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. 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.
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.
The new platform also contains language related to same-sex bi-national couples, anti-bullying measures and hate crimes protections:
President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to ensuring all Americans are treated fairly. This administration hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and we must continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth. The President’s record, from ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in full cooperation with our military leadership, to passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to ensuring same-sex couples can visit each other in the hospital, reflects Democrats’ belief that all Americans deserve the same chance to pursue happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love. The Administration has said that the word ‘family’ in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect bi-national families threatened with deportation.
The platform also supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would help protect LGBT people against job discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation:
We know that putting America back to work is Job One, and we are committed to ensuring that Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The draft language had been voted on earlier, and today’s ratification marks the final step in the platform-making process.