This has been a horrendous week of hate: Beginning with the Administration’s efforts to persecute and threaten the lives of millions of transgender people through a change in the official definition of gender, and ending with the unspeakable, anti-semitic tragedy in Pittsburgh.
Green Party of Pennsylvania members extend our deepest sympathies and offer our support to the victims of these acts of violence. These unspeakable anti-semitic, cissexist, bigoted attacks are a tragic indignity to our American values. We stand in solidarity with the Tree of Life Synagogue, the trans community, and the victims of these horrific hate crimes.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania denounces all hate crime and bigotry, whether expressed through physical violence such as Saturday’s tragedy, or through policy by systematic legislation that destroys people’s lives in other ways. We encourage tolerance, acceptance and humanism among all people.
We must work to end all forms of violence at home, in our communities, in government, and around the world. At this time of so much radicalization, heartbreak, grief, and fear for so many, we encourage all people to stand with vulnerable and persecuted populations and victims of hate.
On October 12th, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWV PA) announced the withdrawal of their co-sponsorship of the 2018 Pennsylvania Senate Debate to be held on October 20, 2018 at WPVI-TV studios in Philadelphia.
The LWV PA statement read:
“LWV PA has partnered with WPVI for many years to provide candidate debates to voters in the Philadelphia viewing area. We value this partnership and we respect WPVI’s right to set their own criteria for candidate debates. However, LWV PA has always been a nonpartisan resource for voters and we value the trust that the public places in us to provide accurate, unbiased information so that they can make informed decisions on Election Day. When the terms for this debate were first negotiated between LWV PA and WPVI, the rules for ballot access were different; since then, a federal settlement has allowed third parties greater access to the ballot, and LWV PA amended our criteria for inclusion in our debates to reflect that. Therefore, we will not participate in debates that do not invite all balloted candidates.”
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) applauds the LWV PA decision. By their withdrawal, the LWV PA demonstrates their commitment to providing the Commonwealth with unbiased information that is necessary for an informed electorate to select its representatives through fair and free elections.
The GPPA has tirelessly fought the bureaucratic barriers of the Commonwealth which function as the means to silence the wide range of political views shared by its citizens. With our allies in democracy, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and Constitution Party of Pennsylvania, the GPPA has successfully achieved a reduction in exorbitant requirements for minor political parties to gain access to the electoral ballot. We now face obstruction from media outlets and pollsters who create arbitrary requirements for inclusion in polls, reporting, or debates.
In order to ensure an informed and engaged electorate in the Commonwealth it is critical for organizations like the LWV PA to make bold statements such as their withdrawal from this debate. We appreciate the LWV PA’s steadfast commitment to democracy and encourage others to follow their lead.
The Environmental Resources and Energy Committee of the Pennsylvania House will vote tomorrow, September 25th, on SB652, which institutes severe penalties for protesting (or even supporting a protest online) of “critical infrastructure” properties, including pipelines. This bill has already passed in the Pennsylvania Senate.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania joins the Pennsylvania Sierra Club and the Pennsylvania ACLU in voicing strong opposition to SB652. This bill creates a new category that classifies 21 different types of facilities as “critical infrastructure” facilities and imposes severe penalties for anyone who enters or attempts to enter the property or “conspires with another person to commit a prohibited act.” A first offense would result in a felony offense which would be punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of not less than $5,000.
Some of the properties classified as critical infrastructure facilities include dams, refineries, manufacturing plants, power plants, truck terminals, and pipelines. Pipelines are counted whether they are above or below ground and at any stage of construction, or even just as an easement, prior to beginning construction. The entire bill can be downloaded here.
This bill is redundant in that there are already strict penalties for people who are convicted of trespassing or destruction of property in general. It is clear by the frequency in which pipelines are mentioned, that this bill is a blatant attempt to suppress peaceful, free-speech protests against pipelines and stifle online opposition through prosecution of supporters as co-conspirators, subjecting them to the same penalties for simply sharing information. The bill is in the same language as other ALEC bills (American Legislative Exchange Council), written for the corporations that authored it. It is not meant to protect our "critical infrastructure" but rather to protect corporate profits.
What you can do:
Contact representatives on the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee as early as possible on Tuesday morning, September 25th to let them know you oppose this bill and believe it is an attempt to take away your 1st Amendment right to speak out against pipelines. Contact information for Committee members can be found here.
Watch for results of the Committee vote and be ready to contact your legislators if the Bill moves forward to a full House vote.
Green Party of Pennsylvania Condemns a Petition by 16 States Urging SCOTUS to Allow LGBT Discrimination in Employment
The Green Party of Pennsylvania condemns the actions of 16 state attorneys general who last week filed a “Friend of the Court Brief,” petitioning the US Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court decision against a Michigan funeral home that fired a transgender employee for being transgender. Included in the Green Party 10 Key Values are social justice, gender equity, and respect for diversity.
We at GPPA believe that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, applies to people of any gender identity as well as any sexual orientation and must continue to be upheld. How people harmlessly express their gender or sexuality is of no rational relevance to their job performance and should be viewed much like their eye color as being irrelevant to employment decisions.