More Congressional Democrats Back Marriage Equality in Party Platform
More than half a dozen congressional Democrats on Tuesday announced their support of a proposal that would add marriage for same-sex couples to their party's 2012 platform.
Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen; the former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, joined U.S. Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.); Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) who signed onto Freedom to Marry's campaign that urges the party to add nuptials for gays and lesbians to its platform at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who is running for the U.S. Senate, and New Mexico Congressman Martin Heinrich, who hopes to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), also backed the proposed platform plank.
Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who announced her U.S. Senate campaign last September, announced her support for the inclusion of nuptials for gays and lesbians before she spoke at the Victory Fund's National Champagne Brunch in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
"This latest group of Democratic congressional leaders to call for a freedom to marry plank in the 2012 national party platform reflects the diverse majority of Americans across the country who support the freedom to marry," said Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson. "The support from members of Congress running for statewide office in swing states shows that there is nothing to fear in being on the right side of history-happily, support for the freedom to marry is not just the right thing to do, it's the right thing to do politically."
These lawmakers join House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, 22 U.S. senators, former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean and others who have already backed the proposal. Texas Congressman Charles Gonzalez and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who co-chair President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, also support the proposed marriage equality plank.
Activists continue to pressure the president to publicly back nuptials for same-sex couples, but Houston Mayor Annise Parker told a group of LGBT journalists and bloggers who gathered in the Bayou City last month that she would be "shocked" to see an endorsement before the general election.