18 Senators Join Call for Marriage Equality Plank in DNC Platform

Eighteen U.S. Senators have responded positively to requests from the Washington Blade on whether they would support a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party platform, Chris Johnson reports:

KerryThe Washington Blade received statements from the offices of 18 Democratic senators — including Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — expressing support for including a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party platform. The Blade solicited statements from all 53 Democratic senators and will update this article as more senators respond.

The senators follow the lead of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who on Tuesday became the first U.S. senator this year to get behind the idea of including same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform. Shaheen, who’s also a co-chair of President Obama’s national campaign committee, said she backs a plank in support of marriage equality proposed by the LGBT organization Freedom to Marry.

Freedom to Marry launched a campaign to include in the plank in the Democratic party platform last month.

Yesterday, Today, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), all co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign expressed their support, according to a statement released yesterday by Freedom to Marry.

Said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry:

“This outpouring of support from elected officials and trusted Democratic advisers is phenomenal. At its best, the Democratic Party stands strongly for freedom and equality for every American. Over the coming weeks and months, we will build and grow this campaign and make the case to Democrats throughout the country that a freedom to marry plank is just, politically smart, and what Democratic voters expect of their Party.”


  1. Paul R says

    How things change. Feinstein said in 1994 that SF Mayor Gavin Newsom had gotten Bush reelected by allowing marriages here. Then made some annoying comment about it being too much, too soon.

  2. Emmy says

    perhaps they should wait till after the election to endorse marriage. especially since many are up for reelection, and not everyone is from a liberal state.

  3. Justin in Oaklawn, Dallas, Texas says

    Yeah, and it’d be a REAL hoot if we could get the ACTUAL top-of-the-ticket to support marriage equality.

  4. Aaron says

    Proud to see both Colorado senators on the list. Between them and our pro-equality governor, you would think our state wouldn’t be struggling to achieve even civil unions.

  5. jersey says

    This is totally unproductive. I’m not sure what they think they’re going to achieve by sparking a floor fight at the convention over marriage equality. We should be focusing our energy on winning battles in states where we know they are coming rather than having a pointless pissing contest over a meaningless party platform.

  6. Matt says

    I think it’s funny to see Kerry support gay marriage now, 8 years after his attempt at the presidency. I know he’s done it before, but will Mitt solidify his support 8 years from now as well? Ehh. He’s too slippery to solidify on ANYTHING.

    As for the naysayers on this, honestly, are you concerned with a gay rights agenda, or is it strictly a Democratic agenda? In other words, are you now the HRC? Just a political vehicle for the Democratic party, letting them get away with anything and everything? No matter what it takes, the Democrats must win, whether they support us or not? Boy, I always thought those homocons were bad about party fealty, but the homolibs certainly give them a run for their money.
    The cons need to get some self-respect, and the libs need to grow some spines.

  7. jsb says

    I am completely for equality on ALL levels, however, I’m afrid that losing the White House will cost more than we could possibly gain from this plank.

  8. MiloTock says

    In addition to what Matt says, @ Emmy – I would figure that these Senators have already done their own analysis of whether taking this position would in any way endanger their seats and determined either that (i) it does not or (ii) it is so important to them that they don’t care (and ii is HIGHLY unlikely for any of them); @ Jersey — how does discussion of this at the convention prevent prevent people from also focusing their energies on winning equality at the state level? These U.S. Senators are not the ones who would be responsible for anything happening in state legislatures. And, at least speaking for myself as a voter, I could both support having this as the part of the party platform and at the same time devote energy to state efforts (although my state — NY – already has marriage equality).

  9. jersey says

    “Jersey — how does discussion of this at the convention prevent prevent people from also focusing their energies on winning equality at the state level?”

    Freedom to Marry is directing some of its very limited stable of paid organizers to work on this project. It’s a complete waste of time and money.

    The only way this campaign makes sense is if they feel that it will pressure Obama into “evolving” before the election. That would be absolute political malpractice on the part of the president and if I were on his strategy team I would tell him not to do it. So, if the president is smart and keeps his current position on marriage, then what this effort will do – regardless of the ultimate result – is spark a floor fight, create bad press and get egg on everyone’s face. The alternative is that the president is stupid and createe a firestorm by coming out for gay marriage for what will be perceived as purely craven political reasons. Then Republicans get the upper hand on a topic that has for all intents and purposes become a non-issue in federal politics.

    Our 2016 nominee will support marriage equality. That will be the time to get same-sex marriage into the platform. In the meantime, Freedom to Marry should direct its paid staffers and volunteers to do something useful, not counterproductive.

  10. says

    i can’t be the only one who truly believes that Equality will come in Obama’s second term.

    the man is smart. the man knows how history works, and how this incredible moment in American history will be remembered. he knows what to do to truly cement his place in history as one of the all-time Greatest presidents.

  11. says

    i got 10 bucks that says Obama comes out in support before the election – and that not only does he win, but the GOP gets a crushing defeat. The tides are turning on more than just gay rights these days.

  12. Tracy says

    Most of the time the party platform has little if any influence on how the winning party governs for the next term. At most its a public relations tool to bring the margins of the party into the greater party.

  13. jack says

    I don’t think including that plank is a good strategic move. We should do nothing that risks losing the White House and the many shakey Senate seats in 2012.The democrats already have the support of folks who favor full equality for LGBT people.However, there are many centrists who are not yet ready to support marriage equality. That plank might cause some of them in swing states to swing to the right. The most important thing in 2012 is to hold the White House and greatly increase the number of democrats in Congress. If we do that much progress will be made in the next four years. Lose the White House to one of those Taliban Lite Republicans and we are in for a long dry spell.