Convention Chair Villaraigosa Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Part of Democrats' 2012 Platform
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that his party should take a national stand in favor of gay marriage.
As chairman of this year's Democratic National Convention, Villaraigosa would not say what the specifics of such a stance might be but told Politico 's Mike Allen he feels the issue is "basic to who we are."
The position sets Villaraigosa apart from president Obama, who does not support gay marriage, but has said his feelings on the subject are evolving.
"The delegates will make the decisions on the platform," Villaraigosa said of the party's ultimate 2012 platform. "But I do support it and certainly have for a long time."
After Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill authorizing same-sex marriage into law in his state last month, ABC News reported that stances on the issue seem to be shifting nationwide.
Four states will hold decisive votes on marriage equality in the coming months.
First up, the New Hampshire state legislature is considering a reversal of its 2009 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The law was originally voted in under a Democrat-controlled Capitol. Now with more than 70 percent of both the State Senate and State House voting Republican, representatives are pushing to repeal the bill.
The state's Democratic Governor, John Lynch, is expected to veto this repeal, but the New York Times reports that with Democrats and the GOP in New Hampshire unsure of how their electorate would respond to such a law, a veto-proof majority is anything but assured.
In Maine, the issue is even more complicated.
First they legalized it.
Then, after Republicans took over the state government in 2010, they repealed it.
Now activists have collected enough signatures to put same-sex marriage in the Pine Tree State on the ballot once again. The Portland Press Herald reports the state legislature could vote on the initiative themselves and put the issue to bed for now, or they can pass it along to the electorate. If that's the case, Mainers will vote on whether or not to allow same-sex couples to marry in November 2012. The Diocese of Portland has said the Catholic Church in Maine won't involve itself in the fight politically this time around.
But before the November elections, both Minnesota and North Carolina will vote on amendments to their respective State Constitutions that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Former presidential hopeful and current Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is working with the Faith and Freedom Coalition to advance the measure in her state. At a meeting in January, Bachmann suggested activists reframe the issue to concentrate on a way for Minnesotans to exercise their right to vote, as opposed to a moral issue, Minnesota Public Radio reported .
Opponents of the amendment in North Carolina say it would harm families of all unmarried couples, putting their children at risk of losing rights, because of the language of the amendment. If adopted it would read, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."
All of the Republican presidential candidates have come out in favor of a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, except Ron Paul. Paul advocates for allowing states to define marriage individually.