Don't expect parties to get bold in platforms

By Stephen Ohlemacher

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Aug. 19 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

"We look forward to preparing a platform that represents Republican conservative principles on the wide variety of issues facing the nation," Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email. "We are confident that there will be broad participation and that we will have a successful platform committee meeting and overall convention in Tampa."

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will head the GOP platform committee. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee will serve as co-chairmen.

The Democratic platform committee met a week ago and approved the platform that will be presented at the party's national convention in Charlotte, N.C. The platform endorses same-sex marriage for the first time and calls for the repeal of a federal law that denies federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

The same-sex marriage plank represents a milestone for advocates who have watched the platform's position on gay rights gradually evolve. Democrats first mentioned gay rights in their 1980 platform, when the party quietly added two words, "sexual orientation," to the list of reasons why people should not be discriminated against.

Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., who is co-chairman of the platform committee, said the plank is important but he questioned its impact on the outcome of the election.

"At the end of the day it'll maybe repel some and attract others to be more engaged," Booker said. "This campaign is not going to turn on gay marriage. This campaign is going to turn on who has the best ideas for the economy."

Associated Press writer Ed White in Detroit contributed to this report. Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

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