The Democratic Platform Calls Out to Gays and Lesbians: Welcome Home

Unlike in the past, gay issues are being championed during prime-time moments of the convention.

Michelle Obama, Democratic Convention in Charlotte
During Michelle Obama’s speech to the delegates in Charlotte she lauded the President’s backing of equal opportunity for people regardless of their sexual orientation. (Eric Thayer / Reuters)
A former Gourmet staffer, Lawrence enjoys writing about design, food, travel, and lots of other stuff.

There’s a rainbow flag flying high over Charlotte. Or at least it appears that way to many gays and lesbians attending the Democratic convention.

“After years of struggling for attention and recognition from the nation’s political parties, gays and lesbians have catapulted to the forefront of the Democratic convention here, prominent on the stage, in speeches, in the platform and at parties that go on after the proceedings have finished,” reports The New York Times.

“I have certainly never attended a convention where visibility is as significant as it has been at this convention,” said Representative Tammy Baldwin, a gay Wisconsin Democrat who is running for the Senate and is set to address the convention on Thursday. “There is amazing progress to celebrate.”

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The Times goes on to note that, “The higher profile of gays extended beyond the arena. It was not uncommon to see same-sex couples walking hand in hand down Tryon Street, in the heart of Uptown. Parties sponsored by gay and lesbian groups have become as sought after as the ones sponsored by Google and by the Illinois delegation.”

And my vote for quote of the day goes to Craig McCartney, a Democratic donor from Texas: “You can’t swing a cat without hitting gay people in Charlotte this week.”

The fact that North Carolina passed an amendment in May banning same-sex marriage by the overwhelming margin of 61 percent to 39 percent seems to have had little effect on the convention’s speakers.

CBS News reported that, “The keynote speaker, Julian Castro, criticized Mitt Romney for opposing ‘letting people marry whomever they love.’ First lady Michelle Obama, also speaking in the primetime slot, lauded her husband for backing equal opportunity for people no matter their sexual orientation . . . [and] Deval Patrick, the Massachusetts governor, pointed to passage of same-sex marriage in his state, adding that ‘freedom means keeping government out of our most private affairs...including out of a woman's decision whether to keep an unwanted pregnancy and everybody's decision about whom to marry.’”

The Republican platform, on the other hand, minces no words in its opposition to gay marriage:

“Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. The current Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle–in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts–makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath . . . We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.”

In contrast, Yahoo noted that, “The Democratic platform supports the movement to get equal treatment under the law for same-sex couples. The platform says: ‘We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference. The platform opposes ‘federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection under the law’ to same-sex couples.”

Now, I don’t think gay rights is going to be the defining issue of this election. But, man, it’s sure been great to see all those closets emptying out.

How do you feel about the Democratic platform’s support for gay marriage and the high visibility being given to gays and lesbians at the convention?

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