Democratic platform excerpts


LOS ANGELES, Aug. 13 (JTA) — Following are excerpts from the official Democratic Party platform, which was scheduled to be endorsed by the convention Tuesday.


The very purpose of hate crimes is to dehumanize and stigmatize — not only to wound the victim, but also to distort the American conscience. Every crime is a danger to Americans’ lives and liberty. Hate crimes are more than assault on people, they are assaults on the very idea of America. They should be punished with extra force. Protections should include hate violence based on gender, disability, or sexual orientation.


The Democratic Party stands behind the right of every woman to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of ability to pay. We believe it is a fundamental constitutional liberty that individual Americans — not government — can best take responsibility for making the most difficult and intensely personal decisions regarding reproduction. This year’s Supreme Court rulings show to us all that eliminating a woman’s right to choose is only one justice away. That’s why the stakes in this election are as high as ever.


Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the proudest moments of our nation’s history and a sterling testament to our aspirations as a people. Yet, despite undeniable progress over the last several decades, inequality and polarization nevertheless persist in far too many American workplaces, schools, and communities. Over the last eight years, we have fought hard to end discrimination. We have increased funding for civil rights enforcement — so that the laws on our books are not just pleasant words, but pledges of justice. Al Gore has strongly opposed efforts to roll back affirmative action programs. He knows that the way to lift this nation up is not by pulling the weakest down, but by continuing to expand opportunities for everyone who wants to achieve. The Clinton-Gore Administration has appointed the most diverse administration in American history, demonstrating that pursuing excellence means including the all of the best that our nation has to offer.

Al Gore and the Democratic Party know that much remains to be done. We must remember we do not have an American to waste. We continue to lead the fight to end discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. The Democratic Party has always supported the Equal Rights Amendment and will continue to do so, and we are committed to ensuring full equality for women and to vigorously enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act. We support continuation of the White House initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Because every American counts, we will continue to work toward a census that counts every American. We support continued efforts, like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to end workplace discrimination against gay men and lesbians. We support the full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of the nation. This would include an equitable alignment of benefits.


In areas where conflict has raged, comprehensive peace agreements are the foundation for lasting security. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have actively pursued peaceful resolutions to conflicts across the world and have been prepared to go the extra mile on behalf of negotiators seeking peace. Al Gore and the Democratic Party are fundamentally committed to the security of our ally, Israel, and the creation of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. We helped broker the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, the Wye River accords, and the Sharm el-Sheik Memorandum, and will continue to work with all parties to make progress towards peace. Our special relationship with Israel is based on the unshakable foundation of shared values and a mutual commitment to democracy, and we will ensure that under all circumstances, Israel retains the qualitative military edge for its national security. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. In view of the government of Israel’s courageous decision to withdraw from Lebanon, we believe special responsibility now resides with Syria to make a contribution toward peace. The recently held Camp David summit, while failing to bridge all the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians, demonstrated President Clinton’s resolve to do all the United States could do to bring an end to that long conflict. Al Gore, as president, will demonstrate the same resolve. We call on both parties to avoid unilateral actions, such as a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, that will prejudge the outcome of negotiations, and we urge the parties to adhere to their joint pledge to resolve all differences only by good faith negotiations.


Al Gore and the Democratic Party recognize the possibility of change in Iran, but we remain focused on the realities. Even as elements in Iran press for reform, the country still supports international terrorism, strives to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and represses its citizens, as evidenced by the immoral trial of 13 Jews in Shiraz. Ultimately, we must judge Iran by its actions. Al Gore will make an all-out effort to halt Iran’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems.

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