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DNC weighs in on Democrat's anti-gay mass mailing in Indiana

by Nick Cargo

The Democratic National Committee has responded to a mailer campaign, funded by the Indiana Democratic State Committee, for a state House candidate who opposes marriage equality.

"We must defend the sanctity of marriage as the pillar of family life," says Andy Schemenaur, running for State Representative in Indiana House District 33 as a Christian fiscal conservative. "I support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as existing only between one man and one woman."

"'The Sanctity of Marriage' was the Republican boogeyman during the last presidential election," said Bil Browning, founder of The Bilerico Project. "The Democrats are running on a platform of change and respect for each other now, not desperately denying gay friendly stances." Browning's hometown, Winchester, is in House District 33.

"The African-American community and the LGBT community were both given seats on the Democrat's State Central Committee at the same time. I can't imagine the Committee paying for an ad advocating a constitutional amendment to ban interracial marriage without black leaders demanding an immediate apology," he added.

When asked why the state party would print a document that could be construed as divisive, and if it stood by the mailers or would apologize for them, Indiana Democratic Party spokesperson Lauren Smith declined to comment.

"The Indiana Democratic Party has been a good partner in the past, working closely with the LGBT community," said John Marble, Communications Director of the National Stonewall Democrats. "However, paying for any sort of anti-gay campaign material is wrong, and the Stonewall Democrats are working to resolve this situation."

"While this flier is disappointing, it's a reminder that while we have made great progress to ensure equal rights and protections under the law for every American, clearly there is still more education that is needed even within our party," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "But we cannot let this deter us from electing a Democratic president. Just last year, Indiana Democrats kept a discriminatory marriage amendment off the ballot. History shows that when we elect Democrats there is great progress toward equality and fairness, which is why we need to focus on electing Barack Obama our next President."

Senator Obama's presidential platform includes the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving. While the Obama/Biden campaign opposes extending civil marriage to same-sex couples, it does advocate for equal access to federal benefits for legally united partners, adoption rights, a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow an American citizen to sponsor one's same-sex partner for immigration.

"The Indiana Democratic Party has worked hard to include the LGBT community as an important constituent group," the Indiana Stonewall Democrats told The Bilerico Project.  "We have an ongoing good working relationship within the Party.  That said, we are not happy with these types of divisive mailers.  We are making our displeasure known to the Party."

Click on the image below for a full-size copy of the mailer:


Originally published on Wednesday October 29, 2008.

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