Democratic convention platform short on LGBT issues

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The Democratic National Committee sent a draft of the party’s 2008 platform to committee members yesterday that incorporated planks from the platforms of former candidates, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards, into Presumptive nominee Barack Obama’s vision for the party and for America.

At the heart of the draft was Senator Clinton’s plan for universal health care along with her campaign’s commitment to women’s rights as well as John Edwards’ chief campaign plank involving the elimination of poverty in America.

There is however very little mention of issues pertaining to gay and lesbian rights in the 54-page document.

In total, the 2008 DNC platform makes just two mentions of ‘sexual orientation.’

The first is with respect to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Under the heading “Allow All Americans to Serve,” the draft platform offers up the following:

“We will also put national security above divisive politics. More than 10,000 service men and women have been discharged on the basis of sexual orientation since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was implemented, at a cost of over $360 million (£180m).

“Many of those forced out had special skills in high demand, such as translators, engineers and pilots.

“At a time when the military is having a tough time recruiting and retaining troops, it is wrong to deny our country the service of brave, qualified people. We support the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation.”

Thereafter, the only other mention of sexual orientation in the entire document as it is currently written can be found under the general heading, “A More Perfect Union,” wherein the DNC makes the following pledge:

“Democrats will fight to end discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and disability in every corner of our country, because that’s the America we believe in.”

LGBT issues aside, the Democratic party platform promises to “restore our constitutional traditions, and recover our nation’s founding commitment to liberty under the law” by, among other things, rejecting “illegal wire-tapping of American citizens” and torture, unequivocally supporting a woman’s right to choose and committing to an overhaul of nation’s immigration laws that will allow illegal immigrants the opportunity to “get right with the law.”

The Democratic National Convention will be held in Denver between August 25 and 28. Click here for more information.

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