Democrats still pioneering civil rights for all people
Our country is approaching a watershed moment in the fight for marriage equality. I couldn’t have been more pleased to hear this week that the Democratic Party platform drafting committee has recommended supporting full civil marriage for LGBT Americans. If all proceeds as anticipated, the language will be presented to the full Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., for a vote in early September.
It is my sincere hope that the full convention of delegates will approve this plank, and I have no doubt that the votes will be there when the Democratic Party gathers in just a few short weeks. Once the party of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton takes this historic step forward, it will have finally caught up with the opinion of a consistent majority of the American public: that sexual orientation should not determine a citizen’s status, and that discrimination has no place in our statute books.
By seeking to add this language to its platform, the Democrats link marriage equality to the great civil rights issues the party has championed throughout its history. In 1948, President Truman led the party to formally adopt civil rights language at its convention. In 1964, when Mississippi tried to seat a slate of all-white delegates who had been elected by a process that systematically excluded black voters, it led to a standoff. Civil rights heroes like Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis spoke out, a compromise was struck, and the Democratic Party swore never again to allow a segregated delegation to be seated.
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