Democrats meeting in Charlotte, North
Carolina on Tuesday approved a party platform which includes support
for gay marriage, making it the first major party to make such an
endorsement in its platform.
Delegates to the Democratic National
Convention ratified the platform which was approved by a committee
meeting last month in Detroit.
The plan includes a plank titled
Freedom to Marry, which calls for “equal respect,
responsibilities and protections under the law” for all families.
It also calls for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which
would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law which
forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay
and lesbian couples.
Openly gay Minnesota State Senator
Scott Dibble said he expects the platform's language to have an
affect on the outcome of a proposed amendment which would define
marriage as a heterosexual union in the Minnesota Constitution.
“This is an issue whose time has
come,” Dibble told Minnesota
Public Radio. “This is not an issue that is at the margins.
This is a fundamental, mainstream, bread-and-butter issue. A major
political party is stepping up just like they have done in the past,
on behalf of people who have otherwise been unable to participate in
our larger civic life.”
Appearing on MSNBC, Chad Griffin,
president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest
gay rights advocate, said the inclusion sends a positive message to
“It sends an incredible message to
LGBT young people across this country – that they are equal
citizens of this country and they can grow up with the same dreams
and aspirations as their friends, their families, and their
colleagues at work,” Griffin
said. “It truly is historic.”
The Democratic platform is a sharp
contrast from the GOP platform ratified last week by Republicans
meeting in Tampa. The Republican document supports a federal
“constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man
and one woman” and “campaigns underway in several other states
to” amend their constitutions to define marriage as a heterosexual
union. The plan also criticizes President Barack Obama for his
decision to no longer defend DOMA in court.