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Freedom to Marry launches effort for marriage plank in 2012 Democratic Party platform

WASHINGTON -- Freedom to Marry announced the "Democrats: Say I Do" campaign, calling on the national Democratic Party to include a plank supporting gay and lesbian couples’ freedom to marry in the party’s 2012 platform.

The platform will be ratified at the Democratic National Convention, which begins Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C.

“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.

“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.”

From now through the September convention, Freedom to Marry will organize to secure inclusion of a freedom to marry plank in the party platform. The campaign will enlist Democratic party leaders, elected officials, activists and voters to make the case to the Platform Drafting Committee in support of the freedom to marry plank.

As the committee holds field hearings and other mechanisms for public participation, Freedom to Marry will mobilize committed same-sex couples, both married and those unable to marry, as well as family members, friends and allies, to make the case. Elected officials such as Freedom to Marry’s Mayors for the Freedom to Marry will join business and labor leaders and others in talking about why marriage matters. And to ensure that all Americans can be heard, Freedom to Marry has launched an online petition that people can sign, urging the party to include the plank in its national platform.

The proposed language for the plank builds on previous, less explicit planks endorsed over the past two presidential election cycles, and 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.”

Public opinion data from 2011 shows that 69% of Democrats support the freedom to marry, as well as 59% of Independents (Gallup, May 5-8). A National Journal Political Insiders Poll conducted in July 2011 showed that 84% of Democratic party professionals believe their party should embrace marriage.

Multiple states have already included planks in support of marriage in their state platforms.

About Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. The group is pursuing its Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. It partners with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.