UPDATED: Democratic Platform draft includes marriage plank

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Barney Frank today confirmed that the Democratic Platform drafting committee unanimously approved a plank supporting marriage equality for this year's Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Democratic Platform will be finalized in Detroit, Mich., in August before being ratified on Sept. 3 in Charlotte. The Democratic National Convention will be Sept. 3-6, and San Diego Gay & Lesbian News will be partnering with Q-Notes, the leading gay publication in the Carolinas, to provide news coverage from the convention from an LGBT point of view.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, applauded the committee for its vote in support of marriage equality.

“We are grateful for the Platform Drafting Committee’s unanimous vote to include the freedom to marry in its draft of the Democratic Party platform. As I testified to the Committee on Friday, the Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans. We are proud that the Committee is including language that will ensure the Party is leading the way forward in supporting marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families,” he said.

Solomon testified in front of the drafting committee in support of a freedom to marry plank on Friday, July 27, in Minneapolis.

Freedom to Marry’s Democrats: Say I Do campaign has enlisted Democratic party leaders, elected officials, activists, and voters to make the case to the Platform Drafting Committee in support of the freedom to marry plank. To date, 22 Democratic Senators, the chair of this year’s Democratic National Convention, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, four former chairs of the national Democratic Party, Caroline Kennedy and nine other co-chairs of President Obama’s reelection campaign, and more than 40,000 Americans have announced their support for inclusion of a freedom to marry plank in the platform.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, also was thrilled at the news.

“Like Americans from all walks of life, the Democratic Party has recognized that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve the right to have their relationships respected as equal under the law,” Griffin said. “I believe that one day very soon the platforms of both major parties will include similar language on this issue. There is no more American value than honoring and protecting one’s family.”

Support for marriage equality has risen quickly and consistently over the last decade, with 53% of Americans now supporting marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. According to a recent Gallup poll, 70% of young voters aged 18-34 support marriage equality and a Public Religion Research Institute poll puts support at 49% among younger Republicans (Millenials). 58% of all Independent voters support marriage for gays and lesbians, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.

On Friday, HRC’s Legislative Director Allison Herwitt testified before the committee, advocating for the inclusion of language in the platform that supported marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, as well as other pro-LGBT equality issues. Sources within the Party, including Rep. Barney Frank, who sits on the Party platform drafting committee, have stated that the language was adopted after a unanimous vote.

Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, said the Democrats are lining up with Obama on marriage equality.

"This is a historic move by the Democratic Party that places it squarely on the right side of history, alongside President Obama. For the first time a major US political party has embraced gay and lesbian people as full Americans. We applaud the platform committee for having the courage to stand up for all Americans. Today's move shows how far our nation has moved on this issue and for anyone who claims there's no difference between the two parties, this should make crystal clear which party stands for equality for all Americans and which party still looks to divide our nation."

Courage Campaign Super PAC has joined with American Bridge 21st Century to launch "Mitt Gets Worse" which is a campaign to highlight Mitt Romney's record on LGBT issues. For more, visit HERE.

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