The quest for equal rights for homosexual citizens gained a few key followers this summer, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. With the support of prominent members of the party, the national Democratic Party decided this weekend to support gay marriage as a part of its party’s platform. Although the upcoming election will most likely be decided on issues that affect more people, such as the economy, adding gay marriage rights to its party platform could help the Democratic Party earn more campaign funding and volunteers.
The national Democratic Party unanimously voted Saturday to support gay marriage in its party platform, including an ambition to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, that keeps gay couples from being recognized as married in states where gay marriage is not legal. According to a recent State News article, the official language of the platform supports all families to have marriage equality and disapproves of any attempts to deny rights to same-sex couples. The party also wants to replace DOMA with the Respect for Marriage Act, making all marriages valid in every state that recognizes same-sex marriage.
Democrats’ support for same-sex couples has grown substantially over the past few years, with 65 percent saying they support gay marriage and only 29 percent opposed, according to a July 2012 poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. In 2008, the same poll by Pew only shows 50 percent of democrats in support of gay marriage, with 42 percent opposed. Granted, adding gay marriage to the party’s platform will most likely not gain the democrats a large number of independent voters, who Pew reported in 2012 only support gay marriage at a slight majority of 51 percent. The decision to add equal rights for gay couples to the Democratic Party platform will most likely not be a key factor in whether or not Obama is re-elected this November. Independents will concentrate more on the economy and will most likely choose their candidate based on who they believe will do a better job the next four years of reigniting the U.S.’s stagnant economy.
The decision to add gay marriage rights to the Democratic Party’s platform could, however, gain more campaign donations and volunteers for Obama. LGBT voters, or those voters who consider LGBT rights to be an integral part of the upcoming election. Those inspired enough by the party’s decision might decide to volunteer for its election this November, and those who choose not to volunteer could donate to the cause.
Of course, the decision could also cause a negative effect, inciting those who vehemently oppose gay marriage to volunteer and donate against the cause, as was highlighted earlier this month on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Thousands flocked to the restaurant to show their support after CEO Dan Cathy publicly denounced gay marriage. LGBT rights opponents are still in large numbers, and those passionate enough against the cause could volunteer and donate to keep gay marriage from coming to fruition on a national scale.
The democrats’ decision to add gay marriage rights as part of the party’s platform will help and hurt them. However, this decision by the democrats will most likely not have a huge impact on independent voters, who will help to decide the election by whom they deem more fit to run and fix the nation’s economy over the next four years.
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