Some news Denny Burk has been keeping up with:
The draft language for the Democratic party platform on gay marriage has just been leaked, the Washington Blade reports. The language will be discussed and possibly amended when the full platform committee meets in Detroit this weekend. Here’s the language:
We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
How much of this will remain intact after the weekend remains to be seen. If it were adopted as it stands, it would be significant for a number of reasons, but here are just a few:
1. It would be the first time that a major U.S. political party has ever officially endorsed same-sex marriage.
2. By calling for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, this approach would force states where same-sex marriage is illegal to recognize same-sex marriage performed in states where it is legal. In effect, this would go against the states-rights approach that President Obama ostensibly favored when he endorsed gay marriage rights last May (though he himself also supports the repeal of DOMA).
3. By supporting the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, this approach would require the federal government to recognize gay marriage.
4. The part about supporting “the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament” is significant. It tells religious people that their beliefs can only be practiced within the four walls of the church. There is no room for a Christian definition of marriage as far as public policy is concerned. Under this approach, the government would say, “In your church, you can hold to the traditional definition of marriage. Out here in public, you will observe the definition that the federal government authorizes.”