DNC Chair Talks Gay Marriage, 'Obama's America'

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Democrats are opening their party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., Monday.

CBN News talked with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz about the gathering, including a new plank in the party's platform supporting same-sex marriage.

An 'Inclusive' Convention?

Four years ago Democrats made history nominating Barack Obama for president - the Democratic Convention was a monumental affair. CBN News asked Schultz whether it would be possible to top that this year.

"This year our convention is going to be the most inclusive, participatory, open-to-the-public affair of any presidential nominating convention in history," she replied. "So unlike what we're seeing in Tampa this week where the Republican National Convention is your typical invitation only, special interest funded, only-the-wealthy need apply type activity."

In an effort to court religious voters, faith-related programing will be featured at this year's convention. Schultz denies, however, that convention officials are placing more emphasis on faith voters than in the past.

"Well, I wouldn't say it's more," she told CBN News. "I would say, in 2008, you may recall, President Obama really went the extra mile and made sure to reach out across the aisle to the faith community in so many different ways."

"We actually had Evangelicals for Obama in the 2008 campaign and have that again," she noted. "So we really think it's important that we not allow the Republicans to corner the market on the faith community."

Same-Sex Marriage Platform

Democrats are expected to approve a new plank in the party platform supporting same-sex marriage. It's a huge step for the LGBT community.

CBN News asked the DNC chair if they were concerned the new plank will affect some conservative democrats who support traditional marriage,

"Well, applying the law equally - whether you're talking about marriage or anything else -- is not a political issue. It's a values issue," Schultz told CBN News. "It's an issue of principle and President Obama supports marriage equality because he believes that the law should treat everyone equally regardless of who you choose to love.

"Now, of course, with religious institutions specifically, you know churches and synagogues and other ministries, that's a separate issue," she explained.

"Those religious institutions and religious leaders should continue to decide whether or not to recognize the kind of sanctity to recognize or not," she said. "But President Obama believes that the law should not treat people differently when it comes to civil recognition of marriage."

'Obama's America'

As the Democratic convention gets underway, a new movie titled "2016: Obama's America," is in theaters. The film paints a sinister picture of what the country would look like should President Obama be reelected.

But Schultz dismissed the movie, saying Obama was precisely the kind of leader the nation needed in these tough economic times.

"If President Obama is elected in 2016 we'll continue to have a president in the White House who will fight to move our economy forward," she said, "who will fight to pass an American jobs act, which he has proposed but unfortunately Republicans in Congress won't even give a hearing that would create up to a million jobs right now."

Schultz noted that President Obama has fought "for tax breaks, not for the wealthiest most fortunate Americans exclusively, but for the middle class, for working families, for small businesses like the 18 different tax breaks that President Obama has already pushed through for small business owners."

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.