WASHINGTON -- The Democratic Party is moving to include support for gay marriage in the party platform for the first time, a Democratic official said yesterday, marking a key milestone for advocates of same-sex unions.
The platform drafting committee voted to include language backing gay marriage during a weekend meeting in Minneapolis, the official said. Delegates will formally approve the platform during the party convention in Charlotte, N.C., in early September.
President Barack Obama will officially accept his party's nomination at the convention, starting the fall campaign blitz. Rival Mitt Romney will get the GOP nomination a week earlier during his party's convention in Tampa, Fla.
Several prominent Democrats began pushing this year for support of same-sex marriage to be included in the platform. The effort got a boost in May when Obama voiced his support for same-sex unions, though he has said he considers it a state issue, not a federal matter.
It was unclear whether the party would call for any national action to legalize gay marriage.
Gay rights advocates hailed it as a significant step forward. "I believe that one day very soon the platforms of both major parties will include similar language," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
Said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex unions: "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."
The Democratic platform committee's move was first reported by The Washington Blade.