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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 1, 2002
11:01 AM
CONTACT:  Green Party of the US
Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576, nallen@acadia.net Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, scottmclarty@yahoo.com Starlene Rankin, Lavender Green Caucus delegate, 773-752-2801, starlene@greens.org
Gay Caucus Expands in the Green Party; Other Caucuses Organize
Lavender Green Caucus, winning accreditation in the Green Party, challenges gay support for Democrats
 
WASHINGTON - August 1 - The Lavender Green Caucus, representing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) members of the Green Party, has emerged as a national force in the Green Party of the United States, after becoming the first caucus to gain a voting seat on the party's Coordinating Committee. Other caucuses, representing African-American and Latino Greens, are also planning to win seats on the Coordinating Committee, the party's central decision-making body which includes delegates from 39 states.

"The growth of identity caucuses with voting power within the party expands the power of people often excluded from political decisions, either because they represent minority constituencies or because of outright bias," said Badili Jones, an African-American and gay Green activist from Georgia who was elected to the national party's Steering Committee during the recent 2002 Midterm Convention of the Green Party of the United States in Philadelphia. "The Democrats and Republicans don't allow such voting caucuses. Lavender, African-American, and Latino voters have a home with the Greens."

"We're delighted to be the first official caucus of the Green Party," said Starlene Rankin of Illinois, the Lavender Green delegate in the party. "We intend to fully participate and we won't be shy about bringing our issues to the table."

"Greens demand Instant Runoff Voting and public campaign financing -- the kind of democratic reforms that won't just benefit third parties like the Greens, but minority voting constituencies of all kinds, including queers," Rankin explained. "Move over, Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans!"

Lavender Greens dispute the reputation of the Democratic Party as the defender of civil rights, recalling President Clinton's signature on the antigay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and Al Gore's declaration, during the 2000 presidential debates, that he opposed same-sex marriage rights.

Throughout 2000, Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader reiterated his support for same-sex marriage, non-discrimination protections, and other equal rights for GLBT people. At a July 19 press conference at the recent 2002 Midterm Convention of the Green Party of the United States in Philadelphia, California Green gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo included same-sex marriage rights in his list of priorities.

"We dare GLBT voters and organizations to compare the Green platform with the Democrats and Republicans," said Greg Gerritt, Green candidate for mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. "Greens say that, just as biological diversity is essential to the health of the planet, acceptance of human diversity is necessary for the social and psychological health of society. Diversity and feminism are key Green values. We demand legalized civil same-sex marriage rights; safe schools and other equal rights and protections for GLBT parents, children, and youth; repeal of restrictive immigration laws based on sexuality and HIV infection; medical marijuana and needle exchange; universal access to AIDS drugs; women's uncompromised right and access to abortion; and national health insurance."

Lavender Greens note numerous other Democratic betrayals, including President Clinton's 1993 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, under which witch hunts against gay people in the military skyrocketed. Clinton opposed medical marijuana and needle-exchange programs, and fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for speaking frankly about safe sex. The Clinton Administration, goaded by U.S. pharmaceutical lobbies, threatened poor nations in Africa, Asia, and South America with economic sanctions for producing low-cost AIDS and other drugs. Clinton and Gore ended some of the threats after protests from ACT UP and the Global AIDS Project (with Green participation and a challenge from Ralph Nader).

The Clinton Administration further angered many GLBT supporters by discarding the Democrats' pledge since 1948 to enact national health insurance, by blaming unmarried and teenage mothers for the nation's economic woes, and by Al Gore's call in 2000 for limits on reproductive freedom -- candidate Gore endorsed outlawing late-term abortion rights (U.S. Catholic Conference questionnaire, October, 2000).

"After nearly a decade of promise to pass national anti-bias legislation, Democrats failed to advance it, wasting years in which they controlled both Congress and the White House," said Vivian Houghton, Green Party candidate for Delaware Attorney General. "Furthermore, the current version of the Employee Anti-Discrimination Act omits transgendered Americans. Now we have a President who's openly hostile to all such discussion, while Democrats have taken every opportunity to support the Bush-Ashcroft assaults on the basic rights enshrined in the Constitution. GLBT Americans are ready for a new party, one dedicated to all our rights and liberties."


MORE INFORMATION

The Green Party of the United States http://www.greenpartyus.org National office: 1314 18th Street, NW Washington, DC 20036 202-296-7755, 866-41GREEN

Lavender Green Caucus
http://www.lavendergreens.org

Index of Green Party candidates in 2002
http://www.greens.org/elections

Platform of the Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org

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