Monday, July 30, 2012

Democratic Party to endorse marriage equality in platform

Party changes tone from "opposing bans" to total support

The time is right to push for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in America. Then again, the time has ALWAYS been right, as it's always been the right thing to do.

One of the major political parties is set to recognize this fact.

When the Democratic Party convenes its convention in September, recognition of same-sex marriage will be included in its official party platform.

The proposed measure, approved unanimously by a 15-member draft committee, will read:
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.
The proposal goes beyond what Democrats have supported in the past. In 2004, for example, Democrats opposed a federal ban on marriage rights for gay and lesbians, but did so by calling it a states' rights issue, and didn't support granting rights in any form on a national level.

Merely opposing a ban didn't mean the Democratic Party supported marriage equality -- indeed, both John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 supported civil unions as a compromise solution. But civil unions disregard literally thousands of rights that gay and lesbian partners cannot attain because they aren't legally "married." Even today, in states where same-sex marriage IS legal, federal benefits are denied to said couples based on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

But attitudes are fast changing on the issue of same-sex marriage. A majority of Americans now support recognizing marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. Even in our own state, most Wisconsinites believe that some form of recognition should be available to same-sex couples, with only about a quarter of those in the Badger State believing that no benefits should be granted.

The time to push for marriage equality couldn't be better. With the Democratic Party officially endorsing that ideal, the dream could become a reality for millions of American families across the country.

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