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Massachusetts Democrats to endorse same-sex marriage

Massachusetts Democrats to endorse same-sex marriage

The Democratic Party in Massachusetts plans to endorse same-sex marriage next week, just days before the first anniversary of legal weddings of gay couples in Massachusetts, the party's chairman said. The party's 3,000 delegates will gather at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell on May 14 to add the endorsement to its platform, state chairman Philip Johnston told The Boston Globe. "I don't anticipate any serious debate about it," he said. "I think most delegates will support it. In this state, the more people get used to the idea, the more support there is." Marriage for gays and lesbians became fully legal in the Bay State last May. A Boston Globe poll in March found that 71% of Massachusetts Democrats support the legalization, compared with 35% of the Republicans surveyed. Party platforms have little influence on candidates' positions on issues, but they tend to reflect the widespread sentiments of a party's core membership. Next week's vote will, in effect, codify a resolution passed by the state party committee last year. It reads: "We affirm our commitment to the Massachusetts constitutional guarantee to same-sex marriage, and all of its rights, privileges, and obligations, and reject any attempt to weaken or revoke those rights." State Democratic parties in Iowa and Colorado have already endorsed same-sex marriage. The national party platform doesn't explicitly endorse same-sex marriage, but it does support "full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation." It also opposes efforts in Washington, D.C., to pass a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Democratic congressman Michael Capuano of Massachuetts, who backs same-sex marriage, said the party should welcome people with different views on the subject. "I understand where some good Democrats would agree with me on everything but this, and I want them in the party," he said. Martina Jackson, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party's platform committee, said she held 25 hearings across Massachusetts leading up to next week's convention, and no one testified against the proposal to endorse same-sex marriage. "We weren't sure what we were going to hear," she said. "There wasn't one place where we heard a negative, but lots of insistence that we do include it." (AP)

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