Senator Shaheen Pushes Democrats to Adopt Marriage Equality Plank

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com February 28 2012 10:45 AM ET

Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire is the first U.S. senator to join the Democrats: Say I Do campaign, which urges the party to include language for the freedom to marry in the platform to be ratified at its convention this September.

Freedom to Marry, which launched the campaign earlier this month, announced the support from Shaheen in a news release Tuesday morning. The organization is working to urge the Platform Drafting Committee to adopt language in the 2012 Party Platform that opposes measures on the federal and state levels to deny marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The proposed platform language reads, “The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”

The first woman ever to be elected governor and a U.S. senator, Shaheen serves as cochair of President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. She has opposed the effort in the Republican-controlled legislature of New Hampshire to repeal the state’s marriage equality law, passed in 2009.

"I'm proud to join Freedom to Marry’s ‘Democrats: Say, I Do’ campaign,” said the senator. “Along with the more than 20,000 Americans who have already signed the online petition, I call on the Democratic Platform Committee to affirm the freedom to marry in our party's national convention platform this September. Any Democratic statement of core beliefs about the importance of families must include all our families, gay and straight. Our party has a long tradition of leading the charge on important questions of justice. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to stand up for the rights of same-sex couples and their families."

Shaheen joins Democratic elected officials and leaders including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the cochairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who have already endorsed the proposed plank. More senators are expected to announce their support shortly.

Voters are invited to sign an online petition here that Freedom to Marry will present to the Party Platform Committee this summer.