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Lavender Caucus’s Dennis: Greens have led the way on LGBTQIA+ rights

lavender_greens logoMichael Dennis of the Green Party Lavender Caucus Steering Committee writes at The Huffington Post that as “the world celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia,” he is taking the “opportunity to reflect on the contributions that the Green Party has made to LGBTI persons and call upon my party to challenge itself in helping advance justice for this community.”

Dennis says the Green Party “has been ahead of the curve regarding including LGBTQIA+ persons in our policies and values. In 1984, activists nationwide gathered in St. Paul to write a share statement of belief that would become the basis of the Green Party. That statement put forth the importance of the rights of LGB persons and their families — including equal rights in marriage and adoption. This followed the lead of the original German Green Party — and followed by other Greens globally.” He notes that in her 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor, Jill Stein became the first gubernatorial candidate to call for legal same-sex marriage “in the state that first gave us marriage justice.” Two years later, Jason West, the Green mayor of New Paltz, New York, “was arrested, handcuffed, and charged, for marrying 26 same-sex couples.”

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U.S. Green Party leaders call for Instant Runoff Voting

irvLeaders of the Green Party of the U.S. said Monday that voters should push for, and legislators should adopt, Instant Runoff Voting, also called Ranked-Choice Voting, in all at-large elections at the federal and state level.

The Greens said that IRV, which allows voters rank the candidates in order of preference instead of voting for a single candidate, is an effective system for electing a single winner when more than two candidates are on the ballot. IRV ensures that the winner will have majority support and eliminates the alleged danger of “spoiling.”

Laura Wells, the Green Party 2010 nominee for California governor, said, “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t enshrine two parties. We demand fair and open elections in a multi-party democracy. Americans deserve the right to vote for candidates who represent their interests and ideals, without being told that only two candidates or two parties are legitimate.” Wells was part of the team that successfully fought for the implementation of IRV in Oakland.

Green Party of the U.S. national co-chair Sanda Everette said, “Greens have been calling for reforms like IRV since the Green Party was founded. In the wake of the 2000 election, Green nominee Ralph Nader was widely blamed for spoiling and enabling George W. Bush to move into the White House. We’ve challenged those worried about spoiling to demand IRV. Democratic Party leaders have ignored us — which leads us to suspect that Dem[ocratic] politicians would rather lose to Republicans than tolerate multi-party competition.”

Young Greens steering committee member Michael Dennis said, “It’s possible that 2016 will mark the end of two-party politics — or at least a huge crack in the perception that a field limited to two parties is acceptable. Those worried about the spoiler factor because of third-party participation in elections should join the demand for reforms like IRV.”