WASHINGTON The Democratic Party's new platform is set to endorse the legalization of gay marriage, marking the first time that either major party has taken such a position.
A 15-member platform draft committee approved the pro-gay marriage language over the weekend, according to Politico.com. One source told the news site it was "not controversial."
The platform language will be considered when the full Democratic committee meets Aug. 10 in Detroit. The draft will then be presented to the delegates for approval at the party convention in Charlotte, N.C. in early September.
The National Organization for Marriage said the decision of the Democratic National Committee sets up marriage as a defining issue in the presidential election.
“We will rally supporters of traditional marriage to make sure they realize that the outcome of the presidential election may determine the future of marriage in our country,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president.
"It's ironic that they hope to kill off the institution of marriage at their convention in Charlotte, because North Carolina, like 31 other states, just voted overwhelmingly in favor of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Brown said.
Rep. Barney Frank, D.-Mass., who is gay, told the Washington Blade newspaper that the party's position has been established by President Obama who endorsed gay marriage in May and by House leaders. A Democratic National Committee staffer also told the Washington Blade the proposed language rejects the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and gives states the option of not recognizing another state's gay marriages.
The Democrats' 2008 platform did not endorse gay marriage explicitly, saying, "We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation."
The Republicans' 2008 platform endorsed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It said, "Because our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it. In the absence of a national amendment, we support the right of the people of the various states to affirm traditional marriage through state initiatives."
BP was used in this report