Democratic Platform Committee Unanimously Approves Marriage Language

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2012 3:19 PM ET

The Democratic Party’s Platform Committee unanimously approved language expressing support for marriage equality at its meeting Saturday in Detroit, sending the proposal on for ratification at the national convention next month in Charlotte, N.C.

A DNC source told The Advocate that the full committee accepted the language revealed Thursday without controversy, and approved an amendment in support of equal treatment of LGBT Americans in immigration and naturalizatin. The final platform language has not yet been released, but the source said the LGBT-specific sections, including the new amendment, would not change between now and the convention.

The amendment language approved Saturday and obtained by The Advocate says, "the administration has said that the word 'family' in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect binational families threatened with deportation."

In addition to its support of “marriage equality,” the platform language unveiled two days ago endorsed an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act with protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity, and it committed the party to “continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth.”

Freedom to Marry released a statement praising the vote. The organization pressed for inclusion of the marriage equality plank this year through its Democrats: Say I Do campaign and testified before the Platform Drafting Committee in Minneapolis last month.

"Today’s vote to include language supporting the freedom to marry in the Democratic Party ‘s National Platform is a victory for fairness and families, and a historic moment long in the making,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “Support for the freedom to marry puts the party on the right side of history, and in the solid mainstream of the majority of the American people. Freedom to Marry applauds the Democratic Party for its fidelity to bedrock American values of the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and justice for all, and for its vision of an America that respects all families and honors commitment and love."

Other LGBT and affiliated groups including the Human Rights Campaign, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and the American Civil Liberties Union also testified before the Platform Drafting Committee. The 15-member committee unanimously approved a marriage equality plank, and the vote by the larger Platform Committee represented the next step in the process.

The approval of the platform language comes on the same day that Mitt Romney announced he had selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate. Neither candidate supports marriage equality, and both have endorsed a federal constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

The Log Cabin Republicans will take part in the party’s platform drafting process for the first time this year. The group said it has identified language that it hopes to strike from the 2008 platform, which called for “preserving traditional marriage.”