Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that support for legalizing gay marriage will likely become part of the Democratic Party platform now that President Obama has personally endorsed same-sex marriage.
The president's in favor of it - I'm sure it will be part of the platform, the Nevada Democrat told the Hill. Reid added that he would back the legalization of same-sex marriage in Nevada and said that, like Obama, he had been influenced by younger family members.
I would follow my grandchildren and my children, he said.
Even before Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage, pressure had been building within the Democratic Party for a pro-gay marriage plank to be formally enshrined in the Democratic platform. Delegates to the party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., will vote on the platform in September.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is serving as chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, has been pushing for months to incorporate same-sex marriage into the official platform. Eleven chairs of state Democratic parties also signed a statement calling for an official gay marriage plank.
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I believe in family values, and I believe that we all ought to be able to have a family and marry if you want to, Villaraigosa told Politico in March. I don't think the government should be in that business of denying people the fundamental right to marry.
Obama's public backing of same-sex marriage is a largely symbolic act -- marriage is a province of state laws, and Obama has already ordered the Justice Department to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal ban on same-sex marriage -- but his imprimatur helps guide the priorities of the party he leads. Similarly, the Democratic national platform is important as an affirmation of principle.
When asked about the possibility of Senate Democrats seeking to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, Reid said he had no specific plans to do so and predicted that Republicans would rebuff attempts at getting a floor vote on the issue.
We'll be happy to take a look at it - I just don't know where it is, and we have a few other things to do, Reid said.