As the primary season finally winds down, both major U.S. parties are preparing their platforms for the general election in November. As with most years, many of the planks will remain largely unchanged, slightly altering language or details to reflect new information or political realities. For the Democrats, however, increasing pressure may significantly rewrite one element of the platform. If all goes well, the party will include a call for full marriage equality as part of its official platform. Imagine that, a platform that says we stand for civil rights for all?
The push was started by Freedom to Marry’s “Democrats Say ‘I Do'” campaign. It proposes this 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.
Wow! How categorically different from the GOP platform which preaches hate and discrimination. Grass-roots efforts on all the usual progressive blogs have resulted in online petitions and significant enthusiasm. This led to a letter signed by 22 Democratic Senators (including both Oregon Senators!) endorsing the new plank. US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who both serve as co-chairs of the Presidents reelection campaign, House Leader Nancy Pelosi, YDA President Emily Sussman, and Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced their support for adding a freedom to marry plank as well.The latest to join in the chorus are four former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, lead by Howard Dean. This is particularly signficant, given their role in shepherding previous platforms.
Let’s hope all this momentum pays off. It’s ridiculous that basic civil rights are denied to so many Americans. Come on, Democrats, prove that you stand for true American values.