July 30, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
Democratic platform draft includes marriage equality plank: sources

Rep. Barney Frank confirmed Monday that a marriage equality plank will appear in the Democratic Party platform (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

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.

A number of witnesses were to testify in favor of a marriage equality plank in the platform: Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry; Allison Herwitt, legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign; Army Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, a lesbian New Hampshire guardsman with stage-four incurable breast cancer and a plaintiff in Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act;  Michael Macleod-Ball, the American Civil Liberties Union’s chief of staff for the Washington Legislative Office; and Aaron Zellhoefer, a gay delegate to the Democratic National Convention representing the National Stonewall Democrats.

Solomon, whose organization has been leading the effort to include a marriage equality plank in the platform, praised the committee in a statement for the adopting such language.

“We are grateful for the Platform Drafting Committee’s unanimous vote to include the freedom to marry in its draft of the Democratic Party platform,” Solomon said. “As I testified to the Committee on Friday, the Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans. We are proud that the Committee is including language that will ensure the Party is leading the way forward in supporting marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families.”

Zeke Stokes, an SLDN spokesperson, said following Morgan’s testimony that Frank spoke favorably about marriage equality and expressed the sentiment that such language would wind up in the platform.

“He spoke very passionately of his support for marriage equality following the Morgans’ testimony and left a strong impression that he believed it would ultimately be included,” Stokes said.

On Monday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest deferred a question from National Public Radio’s Ari Shapiro on the adopted language to the DNC. The DNC didn’t respond to the Blade’s request to comment.

NOTE: This article has been updated.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

77 Comments
  • Man… just a few years ago I was convinced that the Democratic party was not strong willed enough to add this to the platform. I’m glad I was wrong! Progress is awesome!

    • We have a lot to Thank President Obama for and this is one of his greatest to stand up for all AMERICANS.

    • Screw LBGT Rights, the Majority of Democrats are not for theses ungodly rights and it is being cramed down our throats. This is the final straw that will destroy the Democrat party into splinters.

  • Its a sin…STOP IT!

    • Whether you believe it is a sin or not is a matter of your personal religion which has no place in legislation. Equal rights for all regardless of race, age, gender, creed, or sexual orientation has every place in legislation, in fact it’s already in the constitution. Whether or not it’s a sin is irrelevant in this case. Sin is a matter of personal belief. It was separated from state a long time ago.

    • AGREED, Thank you Mathew!

    • You believe what you want to and let others do and believe what they want to. Love Is Love and God is Love.

    • Even if “it” were this thing you call “sin” in you belief system, that is — fortunately for all of us — irrelevant to a secular government routed in separation of such belief systems from legal gevernance of the people. So, feel free not to enter into a same-sex relationship if you don’t wish to — leave the rest of us out of your definition of sin.

    • Hey Matt (and Ben, too for that matter),

      You’re on a gay news website. So… either you’re clueless, you’re closeted, or you’re trolling.

    • Huh? What are you talking about?

  • Big deal. LGBT workplace rights were in the ’08 platform and we saw how that played out politically once the Democrats had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, didn’t we? I don’t know why people are getting all worked up about this. This is just another come on to get rich gays to donate more money, just like Obama coming out as being OK with the idea of same-sex marriage (but not, however, pledging to make any effort to help make it a reality).

    When will LGBT Americans finally understand that they’re being fed yet another line by politicians who only care about their money, not their civil rights?

  • Peter rosenstein

    Great story Chris and congrats on the Blade being mentioned in the NY Times as having the story first

  • Mathew, In your religion it is a sin. Thankfully, in mine, it isn’t. Hopefully all my children will soon be equal in the US constitution and all can follow in their parents’ footsteps and marry the person they love. Legal civil marriage was good for my grandparents, married 69 years, my parents married 65 and me, married 43. I’m so happy it will soon be legal for all in my family. All parents want someone to cherish and support their child, to be there when his parents die, when he’s sick and when celebrating a new success. Why should one of my children not have the same hopes and dreams of this than the others?

    • CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU.. And lets all be one big happy family

    • IT IS A SIN, GOD LOVES THE INDIVIDUAL, BUT HATES THE SIN. MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN (ADAM AND EVE, NOT ADAM AND STEVE).

      • Wow ! Hey Lee Johnston, that is a real CLEVER AND UNIQUE comeback line: “God created Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and Steve.”

        Gee ! I never heard THAT before. You certainly have quite a wit about you ! Seriously Lee, that might have been somewhat “humorous” back in the 1960s or 1970s, but it’s time to wake up to the 21st Century pal. Your juvenile usage of far-outdated slogans (actually decades old) demonstrate you truly have no relevant grasp of today’s complex issues. Leave the political discussions to the “grown-ups” in the room.

      • Martin and Rod in SJ

        Actually, Lee, God has no problem with me or my boyfriend. OR what we do in bed together. I know. HE told me so directly. I’ll tell you what He DOES hate, though. He hates people who claim to speak in His name, but only spread hate and fear. “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” John 4:20

      • You’re either an idiot who doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘separation of church and state” or you’re just an ass. It makes no difference to me, because whether you agree with this addition to the Dem’s party platform or not, it is still being added. So, we win, you lose. Love ALWAYS triumphs over hate. :-)

    • The tide is turning. The Brave New World is coming when people will no longer be given the stink eye because of their nature and who they were born to be. From Torquemadan auto da fe’s at the stake to, finally, equality for Gay Families and their chosen children nobody else wanted, to an equal standing with All families. It’s about the children who are chosen to be included into a loving family and not warehoused in a governmental institutional netherland having been tossed unwantedly aside.

  • No you stop it! And Deming comments like the one above do not reflect the heart of father God. He loves all people, and he did not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him would be saved! For all GL BT reading this, I apologize for the stupid and insensitive remarks made to you by those who think they are Christian.

  • Moving in the right direction! Please check out this Equality Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu-BAr3ZucM

  • This could complicate a number of campaigns, especially down-ballot. Democrats are engaged in tough Senate battles in Missouri, Virginia, Montana and West Virginia, where Democrat candidates may have to distance themselves from the new party stance. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan are home to loads of blue-collar Democrats who still “cling” to a traditional view of marriage. Hard to imagine Sen. Bob Casey championing the new position, for example.

    In fact, the campaign’s battleground states are almost all places where support for gay marriage isn’t yet an electoral winner. I think this is mostly a case of a platform committee being swayed by an ardent, single-issue constituency, as has happened at times to both parties.

    No matter what the Democrats or the media tries to talk about, this campaign is going to be decided on economic issues. The more Democrats try to distract from that, the fewer chances they get to lay out an economic message that will sway voters.

    • Well, then, the Party will need to do some education and persuasion. It can start with Sen. Casey, who still needs to “evolve” on this issue, especially given that he won, in part, with the gay vote.

  • Hopefully this will be another step to stop discrimination.

  • They just shot themselves in the foot. Guess its time to research the other candidates that are running for election. I refuse to support something I completely disapprove of!! I refuse to be guilty by association!…

  • Thank God I can vote for alternative party candidates who already have LGBT equality in their platforms and are also pro-woman’s rights, pro-racial equality, pro-labor, pro-peace, and pro-environment as apposed to the Democrats who claim to be but in action end up being as awful as the Republicans.

    Let’s not forget that there are still anti-equality and anti-choice Democrats (just as there are some pro-equality and pro-choice Republicans).

    Let’s not forget that Democrats helped get Alito and Roberts into the Supreme Court. (Google: Senate Democrats regret supporting Roberts)

    It’s a wasted vote to vote for the same 2 parties of perpetual war, poverty, debt, and the erosion of civil liberties over and over while expecting different results.

    If you’re an LGBT person expecting open minds on marriage equality yet are unwilling to be open minded voting for alternative party options then that’s hypocritical.

    Online search:

    LGBT Media: Cover Alternative Political Parties
    Insist Obama & Romney Debate 3rd Party Opponents
    Top 3 Dumb Excuses To Not Vote 3rd Party
    6 Easy Steps To End The 2-Party System

    Obama 2012: The Lesser Evil?
    Bush, Obama, Same Old Drama!
    21 reasons why I will not vote for Obama in 2012
    100 Ways Mitt Romney Is Just Like Barack Obama

    As quickly as the Occupy movement arose, an advancement or alternative party movement could arise before November too.

    However, if you like little kids getting blown apart by drone attacks, the kill list, the President can kill anyone attitude, teenage torturing Guantanamo, senseless wars expanded beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, Monsanto taking over the FDA, the EPA raising radiation standards, the dismissal of Occupy, attacks on medical marijuana users (thanks LA City Council Democrats for doing your part), a spike in troops committing suicide, attacks on protestors rights, attacks on internet freedom, voting for Republican nominees to the courts, Wall Street favors, insider training, 50% in poverty, 15 trillion in dent, leaders like “Impeachment off the table” Pelosi, and most college grads not being able to find then PLEASE keep voting for the Democrats and Obama and expecting different results. Hopefully ObamaRomneyWellpointcare will cover your Stockholm syndrome.

    Yeah! Woo-hoo the warmongers are supportive of LGBTs! God bless Ameirca!

  • Tried to post comments but I guess if you dare speak against the 2party system of war, poverty and attacks on civil rights the Washington Blade will censor you. Otherwise your comment filtering system sux.

    Freedom to marry! Just not freedom to dare speak out against the 2party system.

  • Thanks for this article and your reporting. What you do is appreciated.

    I posted it to my LGBT Group on LinkedIn to spur members to read your article and to make comment. I also scooped it at Scoop.It on my LGBT Times news mashup.

    Link to group >> http://www.linkedin.com/groups/LGBT-Gay-GLBT-Professional-Network-63687/about

    All LGBT+ and community allies…. please come join me and 15,000+ of your soon to be great connections on LinkedIn. The member base represents 80% of the world’s countries. As well as the down stream in my LInkedIn personal connections that reach over 24 million potential live stream viewers on LinkedIn alone.

    The group is strictly professional office friendly dialog, posting and profiles / profile images. I’ve been told by many that it may well be one of the best run / managed groups on LinkedIn.

    You can be as out or private as you like and I provide instructions on how to set those preferences (In the Manager’s Choice area).

    It’s core value is – Visibility can lead to awareness which can lead to equality. Come stand with us and increase our visibility on the globe’s largest professional networking site. Be a professional who just happens to be LGBT – or a welcomed community ally.

  • Love lesbians, hate sodomizers

  • I’m a retired California teacher. I became incensed the day the Boy Scouts expelled gays from membership. I sat down at my computer contemplating the injustice of the BSA and DOMA. I wanted to help those who have fought bigotry every day of their lives. Soon, words began coupling in my head, flowing through me in twos, and I recorded them. This gift appeared from nowhere. I give the gift to you.

    FREEDOM’S PATHWAY
    Defy discrimination. Boycott bigotry. Denounce dogma. Banish bullies. Cultivate change. Encourage empathy. Discourage desperation. Inspire insight. Celebrate self. Purge pain. Release skeletons. Convey compassion. Nurture narratives. Perpetuate pride. Deactivate disinformation. Revitalize reason. Deconstruct preconceptions. Reconstruct character. Demonstrate determination. Rekindle respect. Disengage guilt. Demand dignity. Mend families. Compel comrades. Rally allies. Command crowds. Mobilize masses. Globalize ideals. Instill initiative. Shift paradigms. Reset standards. Open minds. Envision equality. Challenge convention. Elevate ethics. Revise rules. Trust time. Practice persistence. Pledge patience. Confirm convictions. Consign commitment. Marshal movement. Maintain momentum. Delay gratification. Overcome obstacles. Reform marriage. Desegregate scouting. Welcome awakening. Recognize redemption. Manifest destiny. Liberate love. Embrace enlightenment. Transform tradition. Civilize civilization. Reshape reality.

    You don’t have to be gay to understand the unfairness and humiliation of discrimination and prejudice. Why can’t we be the land of the free? Because, we can. Yes, we can!

    Retired California Teacher, 64, Heterosexual

  • Gays should stay out of the presidential election, gay marriage is not popular, it’s a loser!
    I don’t support it and it will cause the president a chance to win! This is purely selfish, in terms of the rest of us that work hard for the campaign. Republicans know it’s a nail in Obama’s coffin and they’re cheering right now! Barney frank is an Idiot!

    • I love how you act like all gays should just stay out of voting. LOL This shows me that you KNOW your days of hatred, bigotry and ignorance are over. Obama is more popular than ever, especially now that the Republican LIES have been discovered. Don’t you people know, that everytime you lie about something, it reveals to the public just how ignorant and stupid you are? There are actually REPUBLICANS who do not support Romney and Ryan. LMAO Republicans are going to lose the presidency AGAIN, and i can’t wait.

  • Perley J. Thibodeau

    A Republican Senate and Congress will be elected to counter act the Democratic President. So, he’ll continue being a lame duck president for the next four years, too!

  • DOMA will be upheld. Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. The majority of voters passed Yes on Prop 8. The majority always wins in most elections. The Democrats are just showing their stupidity with this issue. The country needs marriage between a man and a woman. Hetrosexual couples need to reproduce and have children. They need future taxpayers in the future. We need jobs instead of Homosexual marriage. With Homosexual marriage there is no reproduction. Therefore it is not necessary. Homosexual marriage is another way of saying to stop production!

    • First of all, the LAST thing this planet needs is more people popping out children. So perhaps you SHOULD stop production for a bit. Secondly, if the ‘productions’ you people are creating, are as dumb and asshatted as YOU, then we DEFINATELY do not need them here. And considering that 84 percent of ALL heterosexual marriages end in divorce within 10 years, i’d say the LAST thing we need is more hetero couples marrying without thinking. also, by your own logic, barren women, and sterile men should not be married. Oh, but wait, i’m sure you’ll have a loop hole for that, won’t you? The REAL institution of Marriage, (which, by the way, was NOT created by christians) was a interlocking of two SOULS. Not based on the interlocking of TWO BODIES. It was a way for one person, to express love and committment to ANOTHER person. Gender was not relevent. I love how all of you dumb ass republicans act like you are the ONLY one who can love. Of course, i cannot expect a dumb republican like you to understand the need for EQUALITY, because you can’t even comprehend treating other people the way you want to be treated. People like you are the REASON this country is in peril in the first place. Ignorant, closed-minded, bigoted, hateful people, who can’t keep their nose out of gay men and women’s bedrooms. YOU PEOPLE ARE OBSESSED WITH GAY SEX MORE THAN GAY PEOPLE!!!!!

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