- Today, the National Stonewall Democrats applauded the Obama campaign and Democratic advocates for proposing the most sweeping pro-LGBT national platform in Democratic Party history. The Democratic National Committee has now released the platform that will be proposed to delegates in Denver. For the first time in party history, the Democratic National Platform calls on Democrats to enact policy which opposes discrimination on the basis of gender identity - a key provision advocated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Democrats.
"For the first time, the 2008 Democratic platform includes everyone in our community, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity," said Jon Hoadley, Executive Director of the Stonewall Democrats. "The Democratic Party is now standing with the majority of LGBT Americans in our belief that advancing pro-equality policy means comprehensive protections for our entire community."
From its initial draft, the proposed 2008 Democratic National Platform calls for Democrats to oppose discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Additionally, the language prompts Democratic officials to work for a "comprehensive, bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act" that includes protections on the basis of disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. This provision is seen as key by LGBT and allied Democrats, who will now use this comprehensive language to build additional support among Democratic officials for ENDA.
"The Platform reflects the incredible educational, and persuasive, work by advocates in our community," said Diego Sanchez, Director of Public Relations & External Affairs for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and the AIDS Action Council, and the first openly-transgender member of the Platform Committee. "This comprehensive language demonstrates the Democratic Party's readiness to move legislation forward which leaves no one behind."
desire and readiness for inclusion and its leaders' focus on leaving no one behind.
Democrats also used the platform to more broaden the description of family to include families with same-sex couples. This key change will allow the Democrats to reflect the party's commitment to full equality in multiple policy areas such as retirement, health care, family policy and others. "Constituents now have a powerful tool in knowing that our party platform urges Democratic lawmakers to act in the interest of all families, including those with same-sex couples, when developing policy and passing legislation," said Hoadley. Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Platform Drafting Committee, highlighted several policy areas included in the proposed platform
: Supports (for the first time) the security of all couples to adopt and calls for "enhancing adoption programs for all caring parents." Census
: Urges the inclusion and recording of all families in the United States Census. HIV/AIDS
: Requires a "national HIV/AIDS strategy" among top health priorities. Housing
: Calls for the end of housing discrimination. Employment
: Urges Democrats to enact a "comprehensive, bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act" that protects workers on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Hate Crimes
: Continues the Democratic push to enact comprehensive, federal hate crimes legislation. Family
: Includes same-sex couples in the definition of family and opposes "all attempts" to use same-sex families as an issue to divide Americans. This includes opposition to the "Defense of Marriage Act" on the federal level. Military Readiness
: Clearly calls for the repeal of the failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The proposed 2008 Democratic National Platform follows meetings this weekend in Pittsburgh of the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention. Members of the committee met to discuss potential changes to draft platform submitted to the members by the Platform Drafting Committee. While successful changes discussed on Saturday have been adopted by the Platform Committee, the full proposed platform has not been made available as approved changes are still in the process of being accounted for in revised language.
Stonewall Democrats and Congresswoman Baldwin have made the previously mentioned policy areas available after participation by both parties in the platform process. Over the past several months, members of the Stonewall Democrats gathered in meetings across the country discuss potential policy language that would be advocated by the organization. In Pittsburgh, Stonewall Democrats worked with committee members to propose and pass amendments that enhanced the draft platform language to more accurately reflect the position of the Democratic Party on issues of equality.