WASHINGTON — In the wake of President Obama’s announcement that he personally backs marriage equality, a group of California Democratic lawmakers are restarting the push to include support for same-sex marriage in the official party platform. And it’s an effort that Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) also backs.
“I met with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz last evening, and she supports the inclusion of marriage equality in the party platform,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told The Huffington Post on Thursday morning. “I’m hopeful and increasingly confident, as is Debbie, that we can make it happen.”
When asked for comment, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz confirmed the sentiment. “Yes, I think that we will have a plank in the platform that reflects the President’s position on marriage equality,” she said. “I support marriage equality as a part of the platform.”
Schiff also announced that 27 members of the California Democratic congressional delegation have now signed on to Freedom to Marry’s letter urging the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee to adopt the position.
The chair’s support does not ensure that marriage equality will be in the platform, since the ultimate decision is up to a committee. But it adds a strong push to the effort.
Other recent signers are Reps. Lois Capps, Zoe Lofgren, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Thompson, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, Susan Davis, Janice Hahn, Judy Chu, Grace Napolitano, Howard Berman, George Miller, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman, Sam Farr, Pete Stark, Mike Honda, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Brad Sherman, Karen Bass, Maxine Waters and Joe Baca. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer had previously signed.
The Democratic lawmakers who did not sign on are Reps. Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Bob Filner, John Garamendi, Barbara Lee and Laura Richardson. Lee is amember of the platform committee and has been named the “the most pro-LGBT member of Congress” by ThinkProgress for the high number of pro-LGBT pieces of legislation she has cosponsored.
If the pro-marriage equality language being pushed by Freedom to Marry is adopted, the party’s platform would embrace marriage equality for the first time. In 2008, theplatform stated, “We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us,” but it did not explicitly call for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In 2004, the party’s platform condemned Republican attempts to pass a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage but also said the decision should be left to the states: “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 Democratic platform will be ratified at the party’s national convention, which begins Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C.