The Washington Blade is reporting that following a unanimous vote, the 15-member Democratic National Committee Platform Panel has decided to recommend placing an endorsement of equal marriage rights in the official Democratic Party platform this year. This decision follows the endorsement of marriage equality by President Barack Obama earlier this year. Chris Johnson reported:
The Democratic Party platform drafting committee approved on Sunday language endorsing same-sex marriage in addition to other pro-LGBT positions as part of the Democratic Party platform, according to two sources familiar with the drafting process.
Retiring gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who sits on the committee, told the Washington Blade on Monday that the 15-member panel unanimously backed the inclusion of a marriage equality plank after a national hearing over the weekend in Minneapolis, in which several witnesses testified in favor of such language.
‘I was part of a unanimous decision to include it,’ Frank said. ‘There was a unanimous decision in the drafting committee to include it in the platform, which I supported, but everybody was for it.’
Frank emphasized that support for marriage equality is a position that has been established for the Democratic Party, from the president, who endorsed marriage equality in May, to House Democratic lawmakers who voted to reject an amendment reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this month.
A Democratic National Committee staffer, who is familiar with the process and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the language in the platform approved on Sunday not only backs marriage equality, but also rejects DOMA and has positive language with regard to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The exact wording of the language wasn’t immediately available.
The platform is still in a draft phase. Writers of the platform are now set to come up with close-to-final draft that will be presented before the full platform committee in Detroit from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12. That committee will discuss amendments before presenting the platform at the convention in Charlotte in September.
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Among other issues, NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris testified to the committee about the importance of including marriage equality in the official party platform. From Harris’s prepared remarks:
One other issue that President Obama gave eloquent voice to recently is the ongoing fight for marriage equality. This is an essential issue of liberty, and I am hopeful that it will be squarely addressed in our party’s platform, reflecting the core ideals of our party. The American Jewish community is more supportive of marriage equality than any other faith community, with approximately 80 percent supporting-but of course popularity should not be the threshold for awarding civil rights. I’m hopeful that in keeping with the President’s powerful expression of support, our party will anchor the right to marriage equality in our platform.
You can read Harris’s full testimony as prepared for delivery here.
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