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Dems add gay marriage to platform


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By Mary Kenney




Pamphlets detailing same-sex rights are scattered across a table in IU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Student Support Services office.

Among them are pamphlets from President Barack Obama’s campaign.

There are none from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s.

The Democrats have officially adopted language supporting same-sex marriage in their platform, GLBT SSS Coordinator Doug Bauder said.  

Local Republicans he’s reached out to, Bauder said, don’t have any information for the LGBTQ community.

“Honestly, I don’t know why anyone who’s gay would vote for Romney,” Bauder said.

Randolph Hubach, an associate instructor and project coordinator in the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, said the Democrats’ inclusion of same-sex marriage is
unprecedented.

“Recent inclusion of what many would refer to as LGBT related issues into the official Democratic Party platform is a first, and quite extraordinary,” Hubach said. “This can be viewed as the first time that equality, which is inclusive of LGBT-identified individuals, has been adopted by a major party.”

Despite low visibility, gay and lesbian Republican organizations do exist. Bauder said he’s reached out to Log Cabin Republicans, a 30-year organization that promotes gay and lesbian interests.

He’s never heard back from them.

Log Cabin was present at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., two weeks ago.

“As the 2012 Republican National Convention comes to a close, two things are very clear,” Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said in a release. “Gay conservatives absolutely have a place within the Republican Party. We also have an important responsibility to work to make our party more inclusive. Log Cabin Republicans intend to fully embrace both roles.”

Local support of same-sex marriage has been split not only along party lines, but also within the Indiana Democratic Party.

Gubernatorial candidates Rep. Mike Pence, R-6th District, and Democrat John Gregg have both said they do not support same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage and civil unions are illegal in Indiana. Legislators have worked recently to include the ban in the state Constitution, and the Republican majority in both the Indiana House and Senate has helped promote the ban. The Constitutional amendment would be decided by voter ballots.

Gregg’s running mate, Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, has been outspoken about her pro-gay rights stance. At this summer’s Indy Pride festival, Simpson said she will oppose an amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Bauder said the LGBTQ community was more excited about the election and, specifically, Obama’s campaign in 2008, than the rest of the country was.

He said he doesn’t believe the president will lose support from the gay community.

“I saw an interesting statistic about African Americans voting for Romney, and the percentage was zero,” Bauder said. “I would think the statistics for LGBT people would be pretty similar to that.”

In the end, Hubach said regardless of party rhetoric, marriage in every context should be viewed as a basic human right.

“For those who may be on the fence as to which candidates they are supporting in the upcoming election, the stark differences in the party platforms cannot be any clearer,” Hubach said. “Those LGBT individuals who identify as moderates will take note of the recently adopted inclusion practices, which ultimately may sway LGBT votes to Democratic candidates.”

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