Great news out of the Treasure State! At yesterday's Democratic convention in Helena, the Montana Democratic Party officially embraced full marriage equality for same-sex couples and added the plank to its platform. The vote was unanimous. Previously, the platform only called for civil unions.
The old language read:
Civil UnionsThat is so 2008. Here's the newly adopted language:
We support legal protection for same-sex civil unions. We believe that parties to a civil union should have the same legal benefits, protections and responsibilities granted to other individuals united by civil contract under Montana laws.
We support repealing Section 7, Article 13 of the Montana Constitution. All adults should have the right to legally marry another adult of their choice regardless of sex or gender. We believe same-sex spouses should have the same legal benefits, protections and responsibilities granted to all those who marry.
Montana, remember, was one of the states that adopted an anti-gay amendment to its constitution barring marriage equality in 2004. In 2010, seven gay couples filed a lawsuit against the state arguing that the marriage equality ban violated the state constitution's guarantees of the rights to privacy, dignity, and the pursuit of life's basic necessities, in addition to its promises of equal protection and due process. In 2011, a Montana judge dismissed the lawsuit.
It is unlikely that we will see a marriage equality victory very soon in Big Sky Country, but this vote by the Montana Democratic Party is a BFD and a solid step in the right direction.
Montana Democratic Party Spokesperson Chris Saeger says this decision is about equality and fairness and Democrats stood up for Montana values.Good on the Montana Democratic Party. Hopefully the Democratic National Committee will take note. It's time to leave civil unions in the past where they belong.
When asked if this would sway votes as we approach an already heated election, the spokesman said economic issues are key but ensuring fairness and equality was also an important statement to make.
“Our top priority will continue to be jobs but this is also an important statement about treating people fairly. They aren’t necessarily things that any elected Democrat Is required to follow but they’re an expression of values for supporters of the Democratic Party,’ adds Saeger.
UPDATE: Upon further investigation, it looks like both my home state of Pennsylvania and current state of Texas have made similar strides.
Texas Democrats also approved a party platform Saturday that — for the first time — explicitly called for equal marriage rights. Same-sex marriage is currently banned by a state constitutional amendmentAnd from Pennsylvania:
With loud support, party members agreed to a resolution endorsing same sex marriage. Adams County Democratic Chair Roger Lung, who is openly gay, made the motion after telling the story of he and his longtime partner who were married in Washington D.C. in recent years. Their marriage is not recognized in Pennsylvania.Our party continues to unite behind full LGBT equality. I don't think it would be far-fetched to assign a large amount of credit to President Obama for finally completing his own "evolution" on the issue.
The resolution calls for the party to endorse “Freedom to Marry,” elected officials to co-sponsor relevant legislation, Chairman Burn to officially back same sex-marriage and for PA convention representatives to endorse it as an official platform plank at the Democratic National Convention in the fall.
The motion went to a voice vote, which by this writer’s hearing went 85 or 90 percent in favor, 10 or 15 percent against. The “No’s” came mostly from the northwest and southwest caucuses, with a few in Allegheny.
The motion passed just a few weeks after Jo Ann Nardelli, a former Democratic state committeewoman well known by people in the room, cited gay marriage when she defected from the party.