The proposed Democratic Party platform is calling for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the removal of the current military policy banning gays from serving openly.
The new platform, approved by the Democratic committee, is considered a major victory for gay rights activists. The platform must be ratified by delegates at the Democratic National Convention to be held in Denver later this month.
'DOMA Divides Us'
"It is not enough to look back in wonder of how far we have come; those who came before us did not strike a blow against injustice only so that we would allow injustice to fester in our time," the proposed platform states.
"That means removing the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding that still exist in America. We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections. ... We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us," the platform statement said, concluding its only comment on marriage.
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is a 1996 federal law signed by former President Bill Clinton that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. It also gives states the right not to acknowledge same-sex marriages conducted in other states.
The repeal of DOMA could force states to recognize same-sex marriages from California and Massachusetts.
The new language is a departure from previous Democratic Party platforms and is said to mirror the views of Democratic nominee Barack Obama. He has called for DOMA to be repealed on several occasions and opposes state constitutional marriage amendments in California, Arizona, and Florida.
Although Obama has called for DOMA's repeal, his Web site says the "federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples."
The Illinois senator has reached out to gay rights activists while at the same time has received much praise for his ability to connect with evangelical voters. The apparent two-timing tactics have some conservatives frustrated about where he really stands.
Where Does Obama Really Stand?
"At some point he's going to have to choose," Carrie Gordan Earll of Focus on the Family Action told the Baptist Press.
"He can try to court homosexuals and evangelicals simultaneously, but if he does what he has promised homosexual activists, it will be the evangelicals and religious freedom that will suffer," she added.
The platform also calls for the removal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has drawn criticism from those who have served in the military.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a former U.S. Marine, told the Baptist Press last year he believes the current policy makes practical sense.
"Sometimes you'll have 100, 500 or 1,000 soldiers, sailors or Marines together in a barracks or in a ship bay, all using the same showers and bathroom facilities," Perkins said. "When you introduce sexuality into that kind of environment, it begins to break down discipline and unit cohesion."
Sources: CBN News, Baptist Press, Democratic Party Platform