By Teresa Keane, National Green Senatorial Campaign Committee

Civil unions are not separate but equal—they are separate and unequal. Society has tried separate before. It just doesn’t work.

The Green Party of the United States reached an important milestone with recognition by the Federal Election Committee of the National Green Senatorial Campaign Committee (NGSCC). On November 17, 2006 it became the only the third party (after the Democratic and the Republican) to have the Committee achieve Federal recognition.

The NGSCC exists to promote the campaigns of Green Party candidates running for the United States Senate, including supporting ballot access drives to enable such campaigns, and with other party-building activities. In 2006, the GSCC supported fourteen Senate candidates.

The NGSSC has adopted a plank of eight Green priorities, which it is asking the U.S. Senate candidates to support vigorously. These policy priorities are:

1. Bring all U.S. troops home from Iraq immediately, written by Anita Wessling. Hundreds of thousands of people have been physically wounded and/or traumatized by chronic violence and insecurity. There are no winners and there is no military solution.

The U.S. occupation is a catalyst for violence. Recent polls reveal Iraqi opinion coalesces on four demands: (1) an end to foreign occupation, (2) compensation to Iraqis for damages caused by the U.S. invasion, (3) release of Iraqi prisoners, and (4) establishment of political and military institutions independent of outside influences. The longer the U.S. occupation continues, the more Iraqis will join the insurgency. An immediate end to hostilities is essential to stem the carnage and loss of human life.

2. Repeal the U.S. Patriot Act and all successors, by Anita Wessling. Though the Act made significant amendments to over fifteen important statutes, it was introduced with great haste, passed with little debate, without a House, Senate, or conference report, and was signed into law by President Bush Oct. 26, 2001. The Patriot Act gave sweeping search and surveillance powers to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies and eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused. It also amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to permit secret surveillance to be used more extensively in criminal, as opposed to foreign intelligence, investigations. The Patriot Act is fundamentally flawed because it relies on a false premise—that America can be safer while doing away with basic checks and balances. By undermining the role of the courts, Congress, and the press in providing a real check on Executive power, the Patriot Act inflicts damage on the institutions of American democracy, instead of on the terrorists that purportedly threaten it, undermining the rights of ordinary people.

3. Mitigate Global Warming, by Teresa Keane. The Green Party believes that Global Warming is the greatest threat facing planet Earth. The urgency of tackling this issue becomes increasingly apparent with each new scientific study. Many leading economists have detailed strategies to confront the global warming problem through conservation, energy efficiency, development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and the reallocation of funds for mass transit infrastructure, all of which could deter climate damage and create millions of new family-wage jobs. A properly financed, public-private global transition to high-efficiency and renewable energy technologies holds the promise of an unprecedented worldwide economic boom. Confronting the challenge of global warming can help this nation heal some vexing social inequities such as hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and low wage jobs. Building a new energy infrastructure can provide a clean sustainable future, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and allows citizens to live peacefully in the world community.

4. Ending the bogus “War on Drugs,” by Anita Wessling. Although the War on Drugs has been a tremendous failure in terms of improving health, reducing crime and preventing addictions, it has enjoyed one area of great success: the demonization of users of recreational illegal drugs (whether these users are responsible, irresponsible, or addicted), and the establishment of a double standard about illegal drugs vs. “accepted” drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco. The “War on Drugs” is an excuse to incarcerate people of color and to repress communities of color through militaristic police presence and abuse of power.

5. Women’s Justice, by Teresa Keane. While remaining committed to fight against any attempt to reverse the constitutionally protected rights to privacy, this concept offers a new perspective on reproductive issues with a focus beyond the right to an abortion to the rights of all girls and women to end exploitation of their bodies, their labor, their sexuality, and their reproduction. All people have a right to make informed choices regarding their reproductive health and activities. This requires that all people receive medically accurate sexual education beginning in health classes in grade school. “Abstinence only” education has been harmful to women and has promoted unsafe practices such as unprotected sex.

6. Marriage Equality for Everyone, by Anita Wessling: The Green Party firmly believes that same-sex couples should have all of the same rights that heterosexual couples do and that the “Defense of Marriage Act” is a violation of civil rights. In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, it supports full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Civil marriage for gays and lesbians affirms the importance of the institution of marriage. Marriage is about love and commitment. Heterosexual love is not superior to homosexual love or vice versa. Partnerships should be seen as equal under the law regardless of the gender of the people in them. The concept of governmental neutrality concerning religion is written clearly in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, stating that neither the federal government nor state governments can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.

7. Universal Single Payer Health Care, by Anita Wessling: The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health insurance program as the only solution to the current disastrous for-profit system. With this system people will gain the peace of mind of knowing that needed health care will always be available. No longer will people have to worry about facing financial disaster if they become seriously ill, are laid off their jobs, or are injured in an accident. The health insurance industry would be mostly eliminated. In the new system, the focus would shift to those who deliver health care and those who receive care. Everyone would have the same comprehensive health coverage, including all medical, hospital, eye care, dental care, long-term care, and mental health services.

8. Ending Fast Track Presidential Trade Promotion Authority, by Brent White: “Free trade” agreements to grant multinational corporations more and more rights to get around laws has helped dig humanity and the survivability of life itself into a deep hole. While NAFTA and GATT 2 (increasing the power of the World Trade Organization) were passed by Democratic congresses, as was the current authorization for Fast Track Presidential Trade Promotion Authority, the Bush administration has used Fast Track to push an onslaught of bilateral trade deals to give corporations piecemeal what they haven’t been able to get through the worst failed trade deals. The Green Party opposes renewal of Fast Track, even with flowery window-dressing language about the environment and workers. The Green Party requests the Senate vote No to Fast Track renewal, or not even bring it up for a vote.

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