The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jackie Yodashkin
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Endorses Freedome to Marry Plank in Democratic Platform

First AG To Announce Support, Urges Counterparts Across The Country To Support Freedom To Marry


In a letter today to the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced his support for a freedom to marry plank in the 2012 platform. Schneiderman becomes the first state Attorney General to support this effort, and will work with counterparts across the country to support the freedom to marry plank.

"Because the Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans, it is time to hold true to this record and add to the Party's legacy by supporting the freedom to marry for all couples," said Schneiderman in the letter.

"We are grateful to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his stalwart leadership in helping end marriage discrimination in New York and for signing on to our effort to secure a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party platform," said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry. "Attorneys general know first-hand the injustices that same-sex couples face every day when they are denied the freedom to marry the person they love. We especially welcome General Schneiderman's leadership in enlisting Democratic attorneys general from across the country to join in this endeavor."


To the Members of the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee:

At our founding, what made America different from every other country that existed before was a commitment to an ideal that had never been advanced - that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our history as a nation has been one of striving to make those words ever more true. Last year, New York rose to the challenge, and the rest of the nation ought to follow our lead and carry on this great American tradition.

As a result of marriage equality in New York State, every man and woman will be treated equally in our county clerks' offices, courts, and administrative agencies. But there are obstacles on the federal level that stand in the way of full equality for all New Yorkers. For example, the Defense of Marriage Act, which our office is challenging in court over its clear violation of the principle of equal justice under law as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, interferes with New York's efforts to ensure equality for its citizens.

Because the Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans, it is time to hold true to this record and add to the Party's legacy by supporting the freedom to marry for all couples.

I urge you to affirm the freedom to marry in the Democratic Party by including this plank in the platform discussion of families:

The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. I support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.

As Attorney General, it is my responsibility to fight every day to defend the fundamental guarantee of equal protection under law for all New Yorkers. And it is my hope that the Drafting Committee will fulfill its responsibility to uphold the Party's proud commitment to justice for all by supporting marriage equality. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the country to make it happen.

Thank you.

Eric T. Schneiderman
New York Attorney General


In July, Attorney General Schneiderman challenged the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that DOMA violates gay and lesbian couples' right to equal protection under the law as required by the U.S. Constitution. This legal action, which fulfills Attorney General Schneiderman's pledge last year to join the court battle over DOMA, followed the historic enactment by the New York State Legislatureof the Marriage Equality Act of 2011.

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.