Openly lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin has been named as one of 20 members of the Platform Drafting Committee members of the Democratic National Convention.
The committee is responsible for drafting and recommending a proposed National Platform for approval at the Convention, after conducting hearings and forums to collect testimony on issues and policies to potentially include in the platform.
While the 2004 Democratic Party Platform included more extensive pro-equality language of any party prior, it fell short in addressing protections of transgender protections, the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and equal marriage rights for LGBT Americans.
Though the committee selection was formally announced by the DNC, it is believed Barack Obama’s campaign had a heavy hand in the selection process.
According to the Washington Blade:
Although Obama has declined to support legalizing same-sex marriage, he supports civil unions for same-sex couples and has expressed overall support for gay and transgender rights to a degree beyond that of any previous presidential candidate from a major U.S. political party.
“The world is such a different place from four years ago,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Senator Obama has a good record of support on GLBT issues, and we’re hopeful the platform will be inclusive of trans issues and go further on all GLBT issues.”