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Religious Tolerance logo

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

2012-SEP: Democratic platform adopted. Reactions.

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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 from the previous essay

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2012-SEP-04: Convention approved the marriage equality plank in its platform: Shortly after 6 PM, delegates to the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC. approved the draft platform on same-sex marriage by a voice vote.

Sections of the official platform that impact the LGBT community include:

Page 17: "Civil Rights. We believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody plays by the same set of rules. At the core of the Democratic Party is the principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Democrats support our civil rights statutes and we have stepped up enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and other settings. We are committed to protecting all communities from violence. We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI. ..."

"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. The Administration has said that the word ‘family’ in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect bi-national families threatened with deportation.

"Because of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ each time I went off to war, no one was at the armory to say goodbye. No one was waiting at the airport when I returned. My partner, George Di Salvo, and I started a family five years ago by adopting two wonderful boys. But I kept their existence secret, because that’s what the law required. Not anymore, however. Thanks to the unyielding efforts of President Obama, I can serve my country openly and proudly with my family by my side." – Dr. Vito Imbasciani, Colonel, California National Guard, Medical Service Corps

Page 18: "Freedom to Marry. 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."

Page 25: "Gay Rights as Human Rights. Recognizing that gay rights are human rights, the President and his administration have vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct or ignore abuse. Under the Obama administration, American diplomats must raise the issue wherever harassment or abuse arises, and they are required to record it in the State Department’s annual report on human rights. And the State Department is funding a program that finances gay rights organizations to combat discrimination, violence, and other abuses." 1

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Reactions to the platform:

The Boston Globe published an article comparing the Democratic and Republican platforms:

"Voters are forever being told that they face stark choices. But the platform that Democrats approved Tuesday [2012-SEP-04] at their convention in Charlotte, NC, was, in areas from social issues to entitlements, a mirror image of the platform that the Republicans adopted last week in Tampa, FL.

The Democratic platform supports same-sex marriage for the first time — 'We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples,' it reads — and reaffirms the party’s support for abortion rights. The Republican platform, in contrast, supports the passage of constitutional amendments that would ban abortion and define marriage as 'the union of one man and one woman'. ..."

"If there is one thing the two parties agree on this year, it is the size of the chasm that divides them on so many issues. The Democratic platform says that 'this election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families.' The Republican platform calls the 2012 elections 'a referendum on the future of liberty in America'." 2 

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry -- a group promoting SSM -- issued a statement:

"Today the Democratic Party stood up for family values and the value of all families by including a freedom to marry plank in its official platform. The party’s embrace of the freedom to marry matches the sentiment of the American people. They know that that marriage matters, that gay and non-gay loving and committed couples deserve respect, and that strengthening families is part of how we build a stronger country for all." 3

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, CA who is chairperson of this Democratic National Convention and chairperson of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, said:

"It has been the privilege of a lifetime to hold the gavel at this historic convention. For the first time in history, a major party platform recognizes every American's freedom to marry the person they love as a fundamental right. This is a reflection of our values as a party and what a growing majority of Americans in this country believe." 3

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2012-SEP-06: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) addresses Convention:

Michelle Garcia, writing for describes Tammy Baldwin's speech before the Convention:

"The Wisconsin senate candidate also voiced her support for President Obama's leadership in repealing 'don't ask, don't tell,' while also condemning efforts to ban marriage equality in her home state."

" 'Our president has made historic progress toward equality,' she said. 'He repealed 'don't ask, don't tell' so that no American ever again has to lie about who they are in order to serve the country we love. Republicans want to write discrimination into our Constitution. But the Wisconsin I know believes that with each passing year and each generation, our country must become more equal, not less. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Tommy Thompson—they think they're the only ones who speak for Wisconsin." 4

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2012-SEP-06: Zach Wahls addresses Convention:

Zack Wahls, 20, defended his family of origin against the Republican Party's definition of family which only recognizes those led by opposite-sex parents.

He said:

"I'm a sixth-generation Iowan, an Eagle Scout, and I was raised by my two moms, Jackie and Terry.

People want to know what it's like having lesbian parents. I'll let you in on a secret: I'm awesome at putting the seat down. Otherwise, we're like any other family. We eat dinner, we go to church, we have chores. But some people don't see it that way. When I was 12, watching the 2004 Republican convention, I remember politicians talking about protecting marriage from families like mine.

Now, supporting a view of marriage as between a man and woman isn't radical. For many people, it's a matter of faith. We respect that. Watching that convention on TV, though I felt confused, frustrated. Why didn't they think my family was a real family?

Governor Romney says he's against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine. Because the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones. It comes from the love that binds us; that's what makes a family. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.

President Obama understands that. He supports my moms' marriage. President Obama put his political future on the line to do what was right. Without his leadership, we wouldn't be here. President Obama is fighting for our families... all of our families. He has our backs. We have his." 5

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More news is inevitable as election day approaches.

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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. "Moving America Forward. 2012 Democratic National Platform," adopted 2012-SEP-04, at:  This is a PDF file.
  2. "Democratic platform draws sharp contrast with Republicans," The Globe, 2012-SEP-04, at:
  3. Julie Bolcer, "Democrats Approve Marriage Equality Platform. Democrats became the first major American political party to approve a platform endorsing marriage equality,", 2012-SEP-04, at:
  4. Michelle Garcia, "DNC: Baldwin Talks Economy, DADT, Wisconsin Marriage Ban,", 2012-SEP-06, at:
  5. Michelle Garcia, "Zach Wahls: Mr. Romney, My Family Is As Real As Yours,", 2012-SEP-06, at:

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How you got here:

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