July 19, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Writing in the Washington Blade, Chris Johnson reports on whether or not the Democratic Party’s official platform, which will be established at the party convention in September, will include full support for marriage equality now that President Obama, the party’s leader, supports equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. From Johnson’s article:
Three voting members — Carlos Odio, a Latino Democratic activist, Donna Harris-Aikens, the National Education Association’s director of policy and practice, and NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan — went on the record saying they’d unequivocally back such language, as did two non-voting members — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Democratic National Committee Secretary Alice Germond — while others had different responses and the majority had no response at all.
The platform drafting committee is made up of 15 people and chaired by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank is also on the committee, as well as Rep. Barbara Lee of California and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Johnson reports that the committee will consider public presentations in a national hearing in Minneapolis next weekend, and will then draft a document that will be reviewed by the full platform committee chaired by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy. In August, the platform committee will meet in Detroit to discuss amendments and take a final vote on the platform, which will be delivered to party delegates in Charlotte.
Earlier this year, before President Obama announced his personal support for marriage equality, pundits were speculating about whether or not there would be an intra-party fight over marriage equality, since many prominent Democrats, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will be this year’s convention chair, had expressed support for equal marriage rights. Now that the President shares the same view as almost all of the Democratic Party’s major leaders, a change in the party platform seems almost certain, but there certainly could be some bumps in the road before that change is made.
UPDATE: Philadelphia Gay News reports that Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida in the House, expects marriage equality to make it into the platform.