DETROIT, Mich. (BP) -- The Democratic Party's platform committee has unanimously approved a plank endorsing the legalization of gay marriage, putting the party on track to become the first major political party supporting the redefinition of marriage.

The plank and the rest of the platform will be voted on during the Democratic National Convention Sept. 3-6. The language of the plank was proposed by a draft committee in July and approved by the platform committee Saturday (Aug. 11).

"We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples," the plank states.

It continues, "We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act."

The convention will take place in Charlotte, N.C., nearly four months after North Carolina voters approved, by a margin of 61-39 percent, an amendment to the constitution stating, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." Including the 30 states that have marriage amendments and two other states (Hawaii and Maine) that have voted on the issue, traditional marriage proposals have passed at the ballot by an average margin of 67-33 percent.

But the Democratic platform now apparently will oppose all such amendments, as well as the Defense of Marriage Act -- a 1996 law which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and gives states the option of not recognizing the gay marriage laws of other states. Gay groups view the law as one of the last major impediments to legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( ) and in your email ( Read other resources about the gay marriage debate:

FIRST-PERSON (Daniel Akin): Is it true Jesus never addressed same-sex marriage?

FIRST-PERSON (Glenn Stanton): Why not legalize gay 'marriage'?

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press