CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The full text of the Democratic Party Platform was released this morning as delegates prepare for the official opening of 2012 Democratic National Convention this evening. There, delegates will approve the platform, along with other rules and procedures before a litany of special guests including First Lady Michelle Obama take to the stage.

At the core of the party’s platform, titled “Moving American Forward,” lay a focus on strengthening the middle class, healthcare, immigration and LGBT issues, including a new marriage equality platform and employment nondiscrimination.

In terms of healthcare, the platform highlights the ways in which The Affordable Healthcare Act affects diverse and marginalized populations, including the LGBT community. Centralizing on President Barack Obama’s development of the first National HIV/AIDS response strategy to the domestic crisis, the platform calls for “reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.” This focus on HIV/AIDS issues follows the Obama Administration’s efforts to hold the first World Aids Conference in 30 years this past July in Washington, D.C.

On an international level, the Obama Administration has pledged to oppose and combat efforts by other nations to criminalize or direct violence toward LGBT individuals. The issue of “Gay Rights as Human Rights” will be considered a core focus of American diplomats, who are expected to report abuse or harassment directed at LGBT individuals in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human rights. This section of the platform, grouped under the header “Advancing Universal Values,” expands the Democratic Party’s commitment to the LGBT community onto a global level.

A new plank in the platform supporting full marriage rights for same-sex couples has received most attention from LGBT delegates and others. In the plank, titled “Freedom to Marry,” the party says it will support both marriage equality and equal, lawful treatment of same-sex couples, while still allowing “churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.” The Democratic Party is calling not merely for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, but also the passage of a Respect for Marriage Act that ensures equal protection for committed same-sex couples under the law. In this way, the platform reflects Obama’s public endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this year.

The platform also calls for the implementation of anti-bullying efforts to protect LGBT youth and reiterates its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

To read the full platform click here.