Gay Marriage Endorsed by Democratic Platform Draft Panel

The Democratic Party took an initial step toward endorsing gay marriage as party platform drafters recommended including such a provision among its 2012 positions, said a spokesman for Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank.

The drafting subcommittee, which met in Minneapolis last weekend, included the marriage equality plank in its recommendations to the full platform committee, said Eric Orner, a spokesman for Frank, a member of the drafting panel. Almost three months ago President Barack Obama said in an ABC News interview that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

The platform committee will meet next month to adopt a proposed statement of the party’s stand on issues before the Democratic National Convention starts on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Earlier this month, Frank, 72, became the first member of Congress to marry a same-sex partner. Frank, who isn’t seeking re-election, and Jim Ready were wed in a ceremony in Newton, Massachusetts.

In February, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney supports a constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage and said the states, not the federal government, should determine benefits for same-sex couples.

House Democrats

Democrats in the U.S. House, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have criticized a decision by House Republican leaders to finance the defense of the federal law barring same-sex marriage by hiring an outside lawyer to represent the government’s interest.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married under state laws violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

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