WASHINGTON -- An LGBT organization is calling on the Democratic Party to officially support marriage equality, launching a national campaign to get Democrats to enshrine it in the 2012 party platform -- even though the head of the party, President Barack Obama, still does not support same-sex marriage.
The "Democrats: Say I Do" campaign will enlist Democratic Party leaders, elected officials, activists and voters to promote the cause.
"An overwhelming majority of Democrats support the freedom to marry, as do a significant majority of Independents and voters under 50 across the political spectrum," said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, which is leading the campaign. "The Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans. It's now time for the national party to be true to its values and its voters and go unequivocally on record for the freedom to marry."
The language that Freedom to Marry wants included states:
We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.
If adopted, it would be the first time the party's platform embraces marriage equality. In 2008, the platform 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 same-sex marriage.
In 2004, the platform condemned Republican attempts to pass a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, but it 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.
Although a strong majority of Democrats are in favor of granting gay and lesbian individuals the right to get married, Obama still does not support this position. Recently, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president continues to "evolve" on the issue, but he still does not publicly back same-sex marriage.
The Democratic National Committee did not return a request for comment.
So far, nearly 3,000 people have signed Freedom to Marry's petition.
The group recently launched Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a nonpartisan group pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage. It currently includes 70 mayors from around the country and is chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), among others.