The Democratic National Convention begins at 5 p.m. today, with presentation of the platform as one of the first matters of business for delegates gathered in Charlotte, N.C.
The document, adopted by the party's delegates, calls for marriage equality, as well as workplace protections for LGBT people with passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, in a speech moving for the adoption of the platform, said, "Our platform and our president are not interested in petty political arguments. Instead, this platform of big and practical ideas sets forth an emboldened pathway toward the historic hope which has driven generations of Americans forward — it is our most fundamental national aspiration — that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, that if you are an American — first generation or fifth — one who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents — that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills."
On marriage, the platform states, “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.”
The document sets forth the vision for the future for the party and the president, according to a news release that emphasizes the goal of “restoring economic security and building an economy that is built to last.”
Last week, meeting in Tampa, the Republican Party adopted a platform that calls for a defense of DOMA and adoption of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
The GOP platform also calls for a ban on all abortions and opposes any form of “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.
Democratic leaders called the GOP’s platform “extreme” and also an endorsement of “top-down economic policies.”
The first draft of the Democratic platform came together under the supervision of former Gov. Ted Strickland, with writers meeting in Minneapolis to receive input from the public.
On Aug. 11, members of the platform committee chaired by Booker and retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, met in Detroit. There they unanimously endorsed the draft for the convention.
Early this year, LGBT civil rights activists began calling on the Democrats to include marriage in the platform, with the group Freedom to Marry leading the campaign.
After the platform's adoption, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson said, "The Democrats are now on record as the first major political party in U.S. history in favor of true and full equality for same-sex couples."
Many of tonight's speakers talked about inclusion and diversity in the party, beginning with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee and a U.S. representative from Florida.
She said, "We have the largest number of delegates ever assembled at a Democratic National Convention.
"And as I look out from the podium, I see a diverse assembly of Democrats who represent the strength and unity of our party.
"The Democratic Party is the oldest continuing party in the world and your participation in this convention is a testament to the fact that we are also the most vibrant, inclusive and energized political party."
On the Web: Download a PDF or eBook of the platform at http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform