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Green Party LogoGreen Party: National anti-discrimination legislation covering sexual orientation and identity is necessary to strengthen marriage equality

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

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org

Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak LGBT rights http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-lbgt.php

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders called passage of national anti-discrimination legislation that covers sexual orientation and sexual identity a necessary step after recent court decisions allowing same-sex marriage, especially in the wake of laws in Indiana and Arkansas that uphold a "right" to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

"The controversy over the right of a business to refuse service to LGBT people because of religious beliefs shows the need for a national nondiscrimination act that includes sexual orientation and identity among the classes for which discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and adoption is outlawed," said Green Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, N.Y.

"The Green Party has supported marriage equality and protection from discrimination ever since the party was founded, long before Democratic leaders decided it was safe to endorse same-sex marriage rights. In 28 states, it's still legal to fire LGBTs and deny them services at restaurants and other businesses. We hope for a Supreme Court ruling on DeBoer v. Snyder that recognizes marriage equality under the 14th Amendment, but true legal equality won't exist for same-sex couples or LGBT individuals until a national anti-discrimination bill is passed," said Mayor West.

In 2004, Mayor Jason West made national news when he defied state law and risked jail for solemnizing 24 same-sex weddings. Mr. West is running for reelection again in a race that will be decided on May 5 (http://westformayor.com).

"Refusing to do business with LGBT people should be recognized as an injury to the public good as much as refusing to do business with people because of race, ethnicity, religion, or sex. If a restaurant declined to serve Jewish or Muslim customers, if a bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for an interracial couple, there would be no dispute about legality," said Tim Casebolt, California delegate to the Green Party's National Committee and former secretary of the Lavender Green Caucus (http://www.lavendergreens.us).

"Businesses and other public accommodations benefit endlessly from services provided by our tax dollars, in the form of infrastructure like roads, utilities, fire and police departments, and fair business protections. LGBT people pay taxes too and deserve the same rights, freedoms, and protections as everyone else," said Mr. Casebolt.

In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which only covers employment. The bill, which President Obama supports, has not been passed in the U.S. House. Many state and municipal laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity also cover housing and public accommodations. Such laws generally contain exemptions for religious organizations, private membership clubs, and personal living spaces.

"The principle behind marriage equality is freedom of kinship -- the right to choose whom we love, our partners and our families. A comprehensive national anti-discrimination law would clarify existing court decisions regarding marriage equality and encourage more favorable rulings. It would invalidate 'right to discriminate' statutes that have been passed in states like Indiana. These statues have nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with making LGBT people second-class citizens, forcing LGBTs back into the closet, and denying desperately needed services to young LGBTs," said Emma Lugo, secretary of the Lavender Green Caucus.

See also:

Green Party Platform: Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
http://www.gp.org/what-we-believe/our-platform/17-platform/39-ii-social-justice#sexual

Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (Senate Bill 815)
https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/815

U.S. Supreme Court: DeBoer v. Snyder
http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/deboer-v-snyder/


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