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State party chairs support gay marriage plank

Eleven state Democratic Party chairs announced their support this past week for including a gay marriage plank in the national party platform.

The announcement follows news of a campaign in Wisconsin to add a plank to the state platform.

The state chairs to endorse a marriage equality plank are:

• John Burton, California

• Joan Wagnon, Kansas 

• John Walsh, Massachusetts 

• Ken Martin, Minnesota 

• Jon Wisniewski, New Jersey

• Jay Jacobs, New York 

• Meredith Wood Smith, Oregon

• Boyd Richie, Texas

• Jake Perkinson, Vermont

• Dwight Pelz, Washington

• Mike Tate, Wisconsin

“We now see firsthand how marriage improves the lives of gay couples and their families and strengthens businesses and communities throughout the Empire State,” said Jacobs.

Richie said, “In Texas, we love all our families.  We know to build a strong Democratic Party and a strong Texas, we must honor the core principles of our party and champion the full human rights of every citizen.”

Freedom to Marry launched the Democrats Say ‘I Do’ campaign earlier this year.

The plank proposed for consideration at the national convention in North Carolina in September would read:

“The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”

Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, said, “Today still more Democratic Party leaders are joining in Freedom to Marry’s call for a freedom to marry plank in the Party Platform, because they know that at its best the Democratic Party fights for freedom, fairness and families. These state chairs represent diverse states and a diverse range of constituents, including the biggest states in America from coast to coast, critical swing state voters in Wisconsin and voters combating a cruel proposed antigay constitutional amendment in Minnesota. But whether from red, blue, or purple states, these party leaders know that including the freedom to marry in the 2012 national Democratic platform is not just the right thing to do, it’s the right thing politically.”

Dozens of elected Democrats have endorsed the plank, along with former national party chairs, the state chairs, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Stonewall Democrats.

The president has not taken a position on the proposed plank. On marriage, he has said his position is “evolving.”

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