By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com August 10 2012 3:26 PM ET
The Democratic Party plans to showcase the sharp contrasts between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on LGBT issues during its national convention in Charlotte, N.C., early next month, according to a preliminary blueprint for the event.
Politico reports on an “early draft of the convention plan” that indicates the three-night event will feature intense elements and appearances from Republicans to portray Romney as a candidate that “would devastate the American middle class.” Part of the plan includes “social contrast” segments “in which two people describe their personal experience with a hot-button issue,” such as marriage equality or repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as told by a gay and straight soldier who served together.
“But the plans show organizers intent on steering clear of controversy as well,” according to Politico. “For the gay marriage social contrast, for instance, the documents state the participants should be ‘not a gay couple’ — but a ‘parent and gay son or daughter.’”
Any focus on marriage equality will likely help excite Obama’s base, where a recent Pew Poll showed that two-thirds of Democrats now support the issue. Liberal Democrats favor marriage equality by 84%, compared to 73% before the president announced his support in May. Majorities of women and young people, also key constituencies for the Democrats, support marriage equality.
Politico reports that the draft reflects the thinking of the president's senior advisors and serves as “the starting point for preparing a line-by-line program for Sept. 4-6.” The actual event could be different.
A source involved with convention planning told The Advocate that while the complete speaking program has not been finalized, the convention will seek to outline President Obama’s vision and the choice voters face in the election. The working document described by Politico is about a month old, according to the source.
So far, no openly gay speakers have been announced for either the Democratic or Republican conventions. Draft language indicates that Democrats will mention “marriage equality” in their platform for the first time this year, in addition to an endorsement of the Employment Non-discrimination Act with protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The Platform Committee will meet this weekend in Detroit to discuss the language.
The Republican Party platform will be finalized later this month when the convention takes place in Tampa, Fla. A Log Cabin Republicans source said the group is part of the Platform Advisory Committee for the first time this year. Their goals include striking some language from the 2008 platform, which called for “preserving traditional marriage” through a federal constitutional amendment and state-level bans, and updating the 2012 document with more inclusive phrasing.