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misrepresents party platform while speaking to Christian

misrepresents party platform while speaking to Christian


In an appearance on The 700 Club on Wednesday, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean incorrectly stated that the Democratic Party platform from 2004 defined marriage as the union of a man and woman.

In an apparent attempt to reach out to ultraconservative Christian voters, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean on Wednesday incorrectly stated on Pat Robertson's The 700 Club television show that the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as strictly heterosexual. "The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman," Dean said during a Christian Broadcasting News segment aired on the show. "That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is that we believe in inclusion, that everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect, and that equal rights under the law are important."

In fact, the DNC 2004 platform says, "We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a 'Federal Marriage Amendment.' Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart."

The platform was approved by the more than 4,000 elected and at-large Democratic delegates who met in Boston in 2004 to pick a presidential candidate, and there have been no official revisions of the platform since 2004.

Dean's comments drew swift criticism from gay rights leaders. "Governor Dean is wrong about what the Democratic platform says about marriage equality," said Matt Foreman, executive director for the National Gay and Lesbain Task Force. "Disturbingly, this is not the first time he has misrepresented this important and affirming plank, and he has been asked before to correct the record and to cease making these misleading statements."

"Governor Dean's record on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues since becoming DNC chair has been sorely and sadly lacking," Foreman continued. "The Democratic Party chair should stand by and fight for the party's own platform and values. In light of Governor Dean's pandering and insulting interview today with the Christian Broadcasting Network, we have decided to return the DNC's recent $5,000 contribution to us. We do so with great sadness, knowing that the Democratic Party has long been a champion of our rights."

"Our founders created a federal system that allows individual states the freedom to develop policy for their own families as they see fit. Democrats do not believe that the federal government should forcefully dictate family policy for individual states, as championed by congressional Republicans and the Bush Administration," said Jo Wyrick, interim executive director for the gay political group National Stonewall Democrats. "Therefore, we strongly point out that Governor Dean incorrectly spoke when stating that the 2004 Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between a man and a woman."

The Deomctraic National Committee Web site can be found at Howard Dean can be reached at

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