L.A. Mayor Wants to Make Gay Marriage a Key Democratic Platform

Antonio Villaraigosa, who is the chairman of this year's Democratic National Convention, will bring the discussion to the national stage in Charlotte.

By SHARE

When Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was speaker of the California assembly in the 1990s, he introduced an anti-discrimination bill, which he said would protect the lesbian, gay and transgender community from inequality.

Now, in his new role as chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Villaraigosa is taking his conviction to the national stage, hoping to make gay marriage part of the Democratic party's national platform.

"I think it's basic to who we are. I believe in family values, and I believe that we all ought to be able to have a family and to marry if you want to," Villaraigosa says. "I don't think the government should be allowed to be in the business of denying people the fundamental right to marry."

[See photos of President Obama's re-election campaign.]

Villaraigosa punted on what the specifics of the plank would be during a Politico Playbook Breakfast, adding that the particulars will be left up to the delegates at the convention.

"The delegates will make the decision on the platforms, but I do support it and certainly have for a long time," he said.

Villaraigosa introduced the plan as another way the DNC can make this year's convention more accessible to a diverse group of voters.

"This convention, as I was told when I was asked to do this, we want to make this the most accessible convention possible. This isn't just going to be open to a small group of people."

On two of the four convention days, the DNC will host large events at the Bank of America stadium in Charlotte and at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in order to entice voters to get involved in the campaign.

Villaraigosa cautioned that the GOP should take a lesson from the Dems and expand their base, or risk facing the same fate as the Whig Party, who eventually splintered and ceased to exist after 1856.

"The fact is that when you hear the Republican candidates on immigration, when you see them and hear them talk about the contraception, mammograms, and abortion and not he economy, it is clear to me that they are moving farther and farther away from the mainstream," Villaraigosa says.

Villaraigosa offered immigration as another area in which the GOP is losing support. He criticized Mitt Romney for calling the DREAM Act, which would give in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants, a handout.

"This is the first time I have seen the kind of vitriol and scapegoating of immigrants," Villaraigosa says. "It is going to make them the Whig party of the next millennium. They are going to lose the Latino electorate and they are going to lose them for some time."

  • Why the Big Winner in Ohio May be Obama.
  • Mitt Romney's Struggles in the South.
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.