WASHINGTON, DC - A North Carolina mom's breaking petition campaign on Change.org asking the Democratic National Committee to add gay marriage to its party platform has exploded, gaining more than 25,000 supporters since Wednesday.
Shannon Ritchie, a new mom and North Carolina native who volunteered in the effort to fight Amendment One, the state's recent ban on gay marriage, launched her petition on Change.org on Wednesday night after seeing President Obama publicly endorse gay marriage.
"My husband and I were heartbroken when we found out that North Carolina's hurtful and discriminatory Amendment One had passed on Tuesday evening," said Ritchie, a registered Democrat. "But when I saw the president speak out in support of marriage equality, it gave me hope that we can still make a positive change right here in my home state of North Carolina. With the Democratic National Convention coming here in September, now is our chance to make history."
Each signature on the petition generates an email that is sent to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the 2012 Democratic National Convention Chair. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee Chair, is also listed as a target on the petition.
"Many Democratic leaders already support equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. But it's going to take a groundswell of public support to show them that the Democratic Party is ready to officially embrace marriage equality in the party platform," said Ritchie. "We're building that groundswell."
Mayor Villaraigosa has already come out in support of adding marriage equality to the Democratic Party Platform, as have 22 Democratic senators, 11 State Democratic Party chairs, and four former chairs of the national Democratic Party. This week, Vice President Biden announced his support for gay marriage, and President Obama followed suit on Wednesday.
"Dozens of petitions signed by thousands of people have sprung up on Change.org since Amendment 1 passed on Tuesday evening," said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Campaign Manager at Change.org. "Shannon's petition is especially taking off because the goal of her campaign is to unite people rather than divide them."
The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, the week of September 3, 2012. Members of the 2012 Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee have not yet been announced.