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Same-sex marriage (SSM): the GOP & Democratic Party 2012 platform

2012-AUG: Dem. and GOP platforms on LGBT issues

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We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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Developments of the main parties' platforms during 2012-AUG:

  • 2012-AUG-11: The full Democratic Party platform committee supports SSM: The committee met in Detroit, and accepted the platform written by the subcommittee two weeks earlier. These would support:

    • marriage equality
    • the repeal of DOMA
    • the freedom of faith groups and clergy to decide to marry or not marry their LGBT couples in states where SSM is legal.
    • the Enda bill to eliminate employment discrimination against LGBT persons.

    The subcommittee had allegedly recommended the following language:

    "We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference."

    "We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act."

    "We know that putting America back to work is job one, and we are committed to ensuring Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity."

    "President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to ensuring all Americans are treated fairly. This administration hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and we must continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth. The President’s record, from ending 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' in full cooperation with our military leadership, to passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to ensuring same-sex couples can visit each other in the hospital, reflects Democrats’ belief that all Americans deserve the same chance to pursue happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love." 1

    Scott Dibble, a member of the platform committee and an openly gay state senator from Minnesota, said:

    "Young people are looking for a political home right now. This has become a defining moral question of our time. ... This certainly [has] been a journey for many people in this country, [including] a journey for our president."

    Cory Booker is the mayor of Newark NJ and a co-chairperson of the platform committee. He said there are "profound indignities" heaped on people who can't marry someone of the same sex. Referring to the Democratic platform, he continued:

    "At the end of the day it'll maybe repel some and attract others to be more engaged. This campaign is not going to turn on gay marriage. This campaign is going to turn on who has the best ideas for the economy." 2

    The Democratic Convention is to be held in Charlotte, NC, where a recent plebiscite wrote discrimination into the state constitution. It banned SSM, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and in fact all state government recognition of loving committed couples' relationship as anything more than two "legal strangers" cohabiting.

    J. Michael Bitzer is a political science and history professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. He suggested that holding the convention in this state might -- for supporters of marriage equality -- become a:

    "... rallying cry for their platform. ... But I think it kinds of sets up an awkwardness that the national Democrats will ratify or solidify their support for marriage equality in a state that recently banned gay marriage." 3

    The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrar is executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. The group has been promoting the "We Do" campaign which advocates for equal rights for LGBT people. She believes that the convention creates an opportunity for more dialogue about same-sex marriage. She said:

    "This convention is a way to highlight some of these contentious issues because North Carolina helps illustrates what's going on. It's good to remind people what's going on here. ... For me, there's clearly a real urgency on the issue. And I'm eager for us to move beyond the very predictable polarized debate and actually start talking about how real people are being impacted by discriminatory laws and what the solution is." 3

    Jim Parker, 22, is a University of North Carolina Charlotte student, who is openly gay. He believes that protests can make a difference, and plans to attend the convention protest. Referring to the recent plebiscite in the state, he said:

    "When you look at the vote, you say, `Who are these people?' It sets an ugly unaccepting tone. I've had friends ask me: `What's going on in North Carolina?' I can't answer that question." 3

    The vote which approved a constitutional amendment to ban all recognition of same-sex relationship was a surprise to others as well. Polls before the vote indicated that a substantial majority of potential voters favored civil unions for loving, committed same-sex couples. However, the plebiscite was promoted as if its only function was to ban same-sex marriages. Most voters believed the lie.

    This platform will be voted upon in early September by the delegates at the Democratic Convention, where it will be either approved, rejected or modified. 2

  • 2012-AUG-14: USA: FRC Action complained that GOP platform survey is silent on same-sex marriage: Tom McClusky, senior vice president of FRC Action -- the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council -- distributed a "please send money" Email. In it, he complaining that the Republican National Committee is conducting a survey of its members "... on the issues of the day. Missing from the survey were questions on marriage. Nothing..... Not one question." 4

  • 2012-AUG-20: Draft Republican platform on LGBT rights revealed: According to BuzzFeed, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council -- an organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group -- claimed to have a  major role in writing the Republican Party's draft platform on marriage. He allegedly told BuzzFeed:

    "You should read the entire plank on marriage, which I wrote. I feel very happy about it. I feel pretty optimistic about the outcome." [Emphasis ours] 5

    The platform committee's Restoring Constitutional Government subcommittee and the Health, Education and Crime subcommittee, recommended to the full committee a set of principles to be submitted to the convention during the week of 2012-AUG-26. The platform would:

    • oppose marriage equality,
    • support the defense of the DOMA law,
    • support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution "defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,"
    • criticize "an activist judiciary," holding them responsible for "court-ordered redefinition of marriage," and
    • oppose the Enda bill which is designed eliminate employment discrimination against LGBT persons

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Waymon Hudson, "Election 2012: Party Platforms Highlight Stark Differences in Democratic and Republican Positions on LGBT Equality ," Huffington Post, 2012-AUG-24, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  2. Ed White, "Dem. platform group backs gay marriage," Associated Press, 2012-AUG-11, at: http://www.wivb.com/
  3. Mitch Weiss, "Democratic National Convention: Groups Pushing Marriage Equality Amid Ban On Gay Marriage," Huffington Post, 2012-AUG-25, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  4. "Platform meetings next week. Please help us keep the platform pro-marriage," Email, FRC Action, 2012-AUG-14.
  5. Zeke Miller & Chris Geidner, "Exclusive: GOP Platform Draft Strongly Defends 'Traditional Concept Of Marriage'," BuzzFeed, 2012-AUG-20, at: http://www.buzzfeed.com/

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-AUG-26
Latest update: 2012-SEP-06
Author: B.A. Robinson
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