Eight years ago, San Francisco took a stand against discrimination. We decided it was time to stop treating our friends, our neighbors, and our co-workers differently because of whom they loved. I have never regretted that decision, but I remember the backlash well -- the attacks and the criticism that poured forth, a lot of it from within our own party. I remember those who told us to wait, who said it wasn't the right time. Back then, we were supposed to unite as Democrats and focus on winning back the White House from George W. Bush.
In 2006, the goal was Congress. In 2008, it was electing Barack Obama. In 2010, it was defending Congress. Now, as we unite behind our President and start down the path towards November's election, we have another defining moment -- a chance to come together in Charlotte and state clearly what our party stands for. It's a chance for us to define for every voter, and more importantly, every American, what being a Democrat means. I believe that definition must include equality.
That's why today, I couldn't be prouder to have former DNC chairman Howard Dean, Donald Fowler, Steve Grossman and David Wilhelm stand with us in calling on our party to include marriage equality in its 2012 platform.
I know there will be some who argue that this is not the time, that there's already too much at stake in this year's election. To them, I would answer with this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right."
I believe that time has come for Democrats. We can't afford to ignore our conscience on the issue of true equality for our families, our friends, and our neighbors. Dr. King taught us that the arc of history is long -- now, it's up to us to decide if we will help bend it towards justice. I certainly hope we do.