The Democrats are expected to back same-sex marriage part of their official party platform. The move comes little more than three months after President Barack Obama confirmed his own personal support for gay couples being granted the right to marry.
The decision by the Democrats to back equal marriage was broken by the Washington Blade. It said that officials met over the weekend in Minneapolis to approved the first step to amend their policy on this issue. Within two weeks, the entire platform committee will vote on this issue. If it is approved then it will move to delegates at the national convention for approval.
Retiring Democrats Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts told The Advocate that the party will affirm its commitment to equal marriage and that it has his “full support”.
“If it got into specifics, marriage equality should be included, and since it’s getting into specifics, marriage equality will be included, and I’m for that,” he said. “We are including marriage equality with my full support.”
He added that “the fact is, by every action that should be taken, the Democrats in Washington have repudiated DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act].” The platform will reportedly include a condemnation of the Bill Clinton introduced federal ban on same-sex marriage.
Welcoming the reports, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign said: “Like Americans from all walks of life, the Democratic Party has recognized that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve the right to have their relationships respected as equal under the law.” He added: “I believe that one day very soon the platforms of both major parties will include similar language on this issue.
The Democratic Party platform drafted with Mr Obama ran for president called for “full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits and protections.” But it stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage.
At the time, the Mr Obama said he was opposed to giving gay couples equal rights to marry.
Predictably, the Family Research Council has said the party will regret adopting this position. Peter Sprigg said: “There are many place in the country where Democratic candidates will not want to be identified with the gay-marriage party. He added: “I think this is more politically correct than it is politically smart.”
In May, President Obama told ABC: “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
He added that this was a personal opinion, but he would still leave the decision to individual states. “It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” he said. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it.
“You know, Malia and Sasha [his daughters], they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”