Platform supports same-sex marriage

lbonner@newsobserver.comSeptember 5, 2012 

  • More information The Democratic national platform focuses on economic issues – a middle class tax cut most prominently – but it includes positions on some controversial social issues as well. • Supports marriage equality and the movement for equal treatment under the law for same-sex couples. • Protects abortion rights. • Opposes laws that place “unnecessary restrictions” on voters. Would prevent voter ID laws that put a disproportionate burden on young voters, minority voters, low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Delegates at the Democratic National Convention unanimously approved a party platform that includes support for same-sex marriage.

The historic moment was met with cheers from N.C. delegates even though the state that was the latest to overwhelmingly approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Defeats in the states shouldn’t keep the platform from addressing issues dealing with equal rights, Democrats said.

Wayne Riggins of Fayetteville worked to defeat the constitutional amendment, which N.C. voters passed in May. He was in Charlotte this week to cheer the addition of marriage equality to the Democratic Party’s statement of principles.

The nation is moving toward “recognition of civil rights in every aspect of American life,” he said.

He supports the party taking a stand despite how North Carolinians voted.

“Any party that would let its moral compass be determined on what polled the best would be a party I wouldn’t join,” he said. It is right for the party that stands for civil rights and equal rights to support marriage equality, he said.

“It would be an egregious omission if we didn’t have it in the platform,” Riggins added.

The endorsement of same-sex marriage has drawn attention from opponents. The N.C. Values Coalition, a group that pushed to get the marriage amendment on the ballot, announced plans for a rally in Charlotte on Thursday afternoon, a few hours before President Barack Obama’s will accept his party’s nomination.

Republicans included positions on social issues in their platform, including support for a constitutional ban on abortion that does not explicitly include exceptions for rape or incest.

Part platforms don’t sway elections, said Senate leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican.

The presidential race “is going to be decided on the economy and whether Barack Obama has done a good enough job to deserve another four years,” he said. “I think the answer to that is ‘no.’”

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, agreed that most voters won’t know what’s in the platform but said it was still important. National polls show increasing support for same-sex marriage, she said, so Democrats are ahead of the curve.

“It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing,” she said. “I think we need to lead, not follow, on this issue.”

Bonner: 919-829-4821

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