The Democratic Partys national chairwoman on Saturday added her voice to the presidents by speaking out against North Carolinas proposed marriage amendment.
And at a meeting of the Democratic National Committees executive committee, one member warned that if the amendment passes, gay and lesbian convention delegates may keep our money in our pockets at the national convention in Charlotte.
On May 8, North Carolinians will vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Opponents and supporters say it also could affect health insurance and other benefits for unmarried heterosexual couples.
(The amendment) would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples, party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the meeting at the Westin Hotel.
The amendment has become a polarizing issue in North Carolina, a key state in the presidential race and one President Barack Obama won by a scant 14,000 votes in 2008. Republicans generally support it. Most Democratic officials have condemned it, though African Americans a key party constituency appear divided.
Obama announced his opposition to the amendment last month. But he did not mention it during an appearance last week in Chapel Hill.
Heather Mizeur, a Maryland legislator and member of the DNCs LGBT caucus, called the amendment mean-spirited toward everyone.
Were going to have large numbers of LGBT delegates at the convention, she told the Observer. Theyre going to be more stingy sharing their resources (in) the state if a nonhospitable situation exists for the protection of our families.
Well keep our money in our pockets and spend money elsewhere. But this is an issue about protecting North Carolinians.
Call for legalization
Regardless of the amendments fate, some high-profile Democrats are also calling for the partys delegates to consider a platform plank calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage. South Carolinas Don Fowler is among four former national party chairs who recently released a statement supporting such a plank.
That, as you know, is a delicate matter, he said Saturday. But, he added, its the natural next step for a national party that has led the way in recent decades speaking up for equal rights for African Americans, women and persons with disabilities.
I hope it will be in the platform, he said. Whatever form the actual plank takes, he added, it will be very clear that the Democratic Party stands for equal opportunity and equal rights for all Americans including gays.
Asked if it will be awkward for the Democrats to hold their convention in North Carolina if the states voters pass the anti-gay marriage amendment next month, he said no because the damn Republicans are doing that.
Although some moderate Republicans have spoken out against the amendment, it was the GOP-controlled legislature that voted to put it on the ballot.
Wasserman Schultz also took shots at the Republican Party and its presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney.
She called the GOP the silver spoon party that has embraced extremism.
(Romneys) going to try to etch-a-sketch away those extreme positions, she said.
Matt Connelly, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, responded by saying, People like DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz use ridiculous rhetoric in an attempt to distract voters from President Obamas failure on jobs, high gas prices and out-of-control government spending. It wont work.