Democrats to back pot, gay marriage platform
- Article by: SCOTT BAUER
- Associated Press
- May 27, 2014 - 4:55 PM
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Democrats are scheduled to approve a platform that reaffirms the party's current support for legalizing gay marriage and recreational marijuana use, based on a draft released Tuesday.
The proposed platform and resolutions were to be voted on by delegates at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention which begins June 6 in Wisconsin Dells.
Partisan platforms and resolutions, normally ignored by anyone other than party activists, drew more attention this year after Republicans last month debated a resolution to affirm the state's right to secede from the union and to nullify federal laws, like President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Republicans voted that down, but Democrats ridiculed them for even considering the ideas.
The current Democratic Party platform, adopted two years ago, includes support for allowing marijuana for all purposes, not just medical, as well as legalizing gay marriage. This year's proposed platform retains those provisions.
Democrats have proposed legalizing marijuana, but Republicans have shown no interest in pursuing it. Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2006, but that is currently being challenged in federal court.
The Democratic platform also contains a number of other longstanding Democratic issues, including opposition to requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls; support of universal health care; opposition to the death penalty; banning concealed weapons; and taking "aggressive action" to mitigate damage caused by climate change.
Resolutions up for a vote include supporting a living wage; restoring an $800 million aid cut done in 2011 to public schools; eliminating private school vouchers; calling for non-partisan redrawing of political boundaries; and making it more difficult for schools to keep American Indian mascots.
Democrats taking positions on the various issues is a long way from them actually becoming law. Some would require action by Congress or changes to state law, but Republicans currently control both the Legislature and governor's office.
The convention is scheduled to run for two days, with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke giving the keynote address on June 6.
The Democratic platform includes a provision, first added in 2012, calling for the restoration of collective bargaining rights where they have been lost. Walker and Republicans passed a law in 2011 effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers.
Burke has been careful to voice her support for collective bargaining, and opposition to Walker's union law, but she's also not promised to repeal it.
The platform also reaffirms Democrats opposition to outsourcing of American jobs overseas. Republicans have criticized Burke on that issue because Trek Bicycle Corp., the company she worked for that was founded by her father, sent manufacturing jobs to China.
Burke has said she wasn't involved in those decisions while at Trek in the 1990s.
Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said in a statement that she shares the values embedded in the platform, but she comes at them with a different perspective, based on her private sector experience.
He did not say what specifically Burke may disagree with in the platform.
"Her focus as governor will be on working with Republicans and Democrats to make the decisions we need to spur job creation so we become a thriving, top ten economy," Zepecki said.
© 2016 Star Tribune