Saturday, July 01, 2006

State Parties Adopt Platforms And Hide Them From Public View

Last month, both the Indiana Republican and Democrat parties held their state conventions at which they adopted their respective party's official platform on which their candidates will seek election this year. AI observed at the time the complete lack of MSM coverage of any of the substance of the party platforms in their coverage of the state party conventions. Today, Fort Wayne Observed picked up on an observation by Indiana Politico, that neither party had posted a copy of its official platform on their respective websites.

Mitch Harper, the editor of Fort Wayne Observed, is a former GOP legislator. He attended the GOP convention and happily obliged Indiana Politco by posting a copy of the Republican Party Platform on his site, which you can access by clicking here. AI posted an item at the conclusion of the GOP convention, which talked about how one gay GOP delegate felt alienated at the convention by a party that had become the captive of the extreme Christian right. The content of the platform backs up those observations.

The GOP's platform asserts that it believes "our strength is in our diversity." But a statement in support of equal opportunity to ensure "full participation of all of our citizens in government" shuns the inclusion of sexual orientation or gender identity among the classes we should protect from discrimination. The party has obviously forgotten that it was the GOP which first fought to end discrimination on the basis of both race and gender.

On religious freedom, the party's platform tells that "the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." It adds, "We do not support court ordered mandates that remove prayer from the public forum." This latter sentence is in reference to Judge David Hamilton's federal court order against House Speaker Brian Bosma, which in fact does not remove prayer from the public forum; rather, it instructs the Speaker to recognize that the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that the House refrain from allowing sectarian prayers, which are excluding to members of non-Christian faiths, as official prayers for the House of Representatives.

On the issue of marriage, the platform reads, "We support the millenia old concept of marriage as a union between a woman and a man, and we agree with the Republican leaders in the Indiana Senate and the Indiana House of Representatives that any proposal to change that concept should be decided by the people, and not by the courts." This statement is code for saying the party supports a constitutional amendment which will write discrimination into Indiana's Constitution against same-sex couples.

The party's statement on abortion, by comparison, takes a more middle-ground approach. It says, "While recognizing the diversity of opinion among members of our party, we support current Indiana law that says, Childbirth is preferred, encouraged and supported over abortion." Many abortion rights supporters wouldn't disagree with that statement. It also does not provide for any radical over-turning of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, or a defiant stance against that court ruling by passing a state law outlawing abortion, such as South Dakota and Louisiana have done this year, which has been urged by several conservative GOP legislators.

Like Indiana Politico and Fort Wayne Observed, AI is curious to learn what is in the Democrat's platform. AI would like to share it with our readers as well if anyone has a copy of it to share.

UPDATE: John Good, a Fort Wayne blogger, met a challenge from Mitch Harper, and posted a copy of the Democrat platform. You can read it by clicking here. In sharp contrast with the GOP platform, it has a very inclusive equal opportunity policy and supports hate crimes legislation. It reads:

As the party of the people, Indiana Democratas strongly oppose the restriction of opportunities to Hoosiers based on their gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or economic background. We also encourage legislation addressing hate crimes and subsequent statewide education that would protect the freedom of all Hoosiers and create tougher penalties for those who infringe, criminally or otherwise, on those freedoms.

A few of the pages are currently inaccessible, but of those pages I was able to view, nothing in the platform addressed the issue of same-sex marriage.

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