In recent days, state Democratic parties in Montana, Texas, and Pennsylvania have agreed to add marriage equality to their 2012 platforms. Even though same-sex marriage is currently outlawed in all three states, these state Democratic parties have decided that same-sex marriage fully deserves formal recognition on their upcoming agendas.
Erin Moore, Vice President of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, took the lead in driving the Texas Democratic Party toward embracing the freedom to marry. Despite the state’s constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston rallied for equal rights based on sexual orientation at the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention last weekend:
Texas Democrats join President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in calling for and affirming equal rights including marriage equality for all Americans. We, along with our President and Vice President, recognize that same sex marriages should be valid and legal in America. […] We support the repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment and oppose other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving same sex couples.
In Montana, the party took a step further by striking out the existing platform which advocated legal rights for same-sex civil unions. Instead, the Montana Democratic Party unanimously adopted a new platform with much stronger language in voicing its support for equal rights:
We support repealing Section 7, Article 13 of the Montana Constitution. All adults should have the right to legally marry another adult of their choice, regardless of sex or gender. We believe same-sex spouses should have the same legal benefits, protections and responsibilities granted to all those who marry.
A comparable resolution in Pennsylvania also passed in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party after openly gay Adams County Democratic Chair Roger Lung spoke emotionally about how his marriage with his longtime partner continues to be unrecognized in Pennsylvania.
These steps taken by state Democrats emerge after a number of calls from the national Democratic party to include marriage equality in its platform. In recent months, both state and national party chairs have advocated for a marriage equality plank in 2012.
Though stopping short of a full endorsement of marriage equality, the Indiana Democratic Party has committed to opposing a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. The amendment passed last year, but will require a second approval during the 2013-2014 legislative session before it can advance to the ballot for voter approval.