Constitution

LGBTIQA+ Greens Constitution

Updated at Autumn Conference 2019

Our values

1.        LGBTIQA+ Greens are a Liberation Group within the Green Party of England & Wales, (hereinafter GPEW), set up under the rules of GPEW on the same constitutional basis as its other Affiliated Groups (e.g. Young Greens and Green Party Women)

2.       Our mission is to advance the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, and Asexual/Aromantic people. Discrimination remains in many areas of life such as housing, education, employment and health. LGBTIQA+ Greens campaign against discrimination and for an equal and accepting society.

Our aims are:

  • To increase awareness and understanding of LGBTIQA+ issues within GPEW, other progressive movements, and society as a whole.
  • To increase awareness and understanding of Green and progressive values among LGBTIQA+ people and communities.
  • To build a more sustainable and just society where everyone is valued, respected, and empowered regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, or intersex status

Our membership

3.        Membership of LGBTIQA+ Greens and ability to formally vote at meetings shall be open to any member of GPEW who identifies as LGBTIQA+ and has a commitment to sexual and gender equality. LGBTIQA+ allies are welcome to attend but not vote at meetings. 

4.        Membership will be open to any self identifying LGBTIQA+ member of the GPEW. Members will be able to receive updates, vote in online ballots, support and discuss the groups work via the LGBTIQA+ Greens website, at LGBTIQA+ meetings and officially organised LGBTIQA+ Greens online spaces

5.        Termination of membership can only occur if their membership is considered to be detrimental to the work of the LGBTIQA+ Greens. Prior to that, however, the LGBTIQA+ Complaints and Disputes Procedure should have been used, as outlined in our constitution

6.        The LGBTIQA+ Greens will have an Annual General Meeting (AGM) that happens during or around the Green Party’s Autumn conference.

7.        Extra Ordinary General Meetings (EGM) can be called by a two thirds majority of the LGBTIQA+ Greens committee or a petition of 100 LGBTIQA+ Green members.

8.         Every effort shall be made to reach decisions by consensus at general meetings. In the absence of consensus, decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote.

9.    LGBTIQA+ Greens will regularly update its membership of the work of the group via the LGBTIQA+ Greens website, the AGM, internal GPEW members’ spaces, and social media.

Our constitution

1.        This constitution may only be amended by a two-thirds majority vote at an AGM or an EGM.

2.        The LGBTIQA+ Greens committee will have the power to make minor textual amendments to the constitution. This is defined where there is a need to correct errors or inconsistencies in typography, spelling, or grammar; clarifying a meaning, or correcting the numbering of clauses. 

Safe spaces

1.        The LGBTIQA+ Greens are committed to providing an environment free of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, religious discrimination, or any other types of discrimination.

2.        The LGBTIQA+ Greens are committed to providing an environment free of bullying, name-calling, or any forms of abusive behaviour.

3.        The LGBTIQA+ Greens are committed to challenging these types of oppression whenever they occur in LGBTIQA+ Greens spaces.

4.        The LGBTIQA+ Greens are committed to having a victim centered approach when safe spaces are jeopardised.

5. Anyone who is considered to be jeopardising this safe spaces policy may be asked to leave by members of the LGBTIQA+ Greens committee.

Our Committee

1.    The LGBTIQA+ Greens Committee shall comprise of the following elected roles:

  • Two gender balanced Co-Chairs
  • (LGBTIQA+ Greens recognise politics is typically dominated by cis men. That politics lacks representation from non-binary people, trans men and all women. We would therefore not allow for more than one cis male co-chairs)
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • 5 members representatives (members reps) that are gender balanced, with requirements for ethnic diversity and representation of disabled people
  • (1 place would be reserved for a person of colour (POC), 1 place would be reserved for a disabled person, 1 place for a trans person, 2 places would be reserved for a woman or non-binary person)

2.    The Committee shall normally be elected at the AGM, which will take place at the autumn national Green Party conference.

3.    The committee shall have the option to organise the election via an online ballot of self identifying LGBTIQA+ members of GPEW. The time frame shall be:

  • Nominations open two calendar months before conference.
  • Voting shall start one calendar month before conference.
  • Results will be announced on the final day of conference.
  • An ERO will be responsible for drawing up standing orders for an online election – drawing from guidance from the national party
  • An electoral returning officer (ERO) will be appointed by LGBTIQA+ Greens committee to coordinate the election 

4.    All committee positions will be elected via STV with an option for Reopen Nominations. They will serve one year.

  • Single Transferable Vote quota for election is calculated as follows: total valid vote divided by one more than the number of seats up for election plus one (or rounded up) to avoid ties: (TVV/(seats+1)) +1.
  • An electoral returning officer (ERO) will be appointed by LGBTIQA+ Greens committee to coordinate the election
  • Candidates will not have to publicly declare any reserved categories they are running for.
  • In the instance where not enough candidates have come forward who are women, POC, trans or disabled the ERO will encourage candidates to come forward. If no more candidates come forward, then the election will proceed, and reserved places will be left vacant with committee be given the option to co-opt at a later date.
  • In the co-chair election:
    • If the candidate with the most votes is a self identifying male then all other candidates who are self identifying men will be excluded from the vote and their preferences reallocated
  • In the members reps election:
    • If the top 5 most vote getting candidates does not include a person from one of the reserved categories (women, POC, disability and trans) then the highest placed candidate from any absent group will be promoted into the top 5. Candidates may fulfill more than one category. Equalities information will be collected by the ERO.

5.    Members of the LGBTIQA Greens may put themselves forward as a job share for Secretary or Treasurer

6.    Should one part of the job share resign or be removed from their position for whatever reason, their counterpart(s) will be able to either:

  • advertise to co-opt a replacement for the existing part of the job share
  • continue to carry out their role without the existing part of the job share, without replacing them
  • resign from their role

7.    The committee of LGBTIQA+ Greens will have the power to co-opt a member (or 2 members as a job-share) into any vacant role in between the AGM, elected by a majority vote of the committee.

8.    Committee members may take decisions or communicate on behalf of LGBTIQA+ Greens between ordinary meetings of LGBTIQA+ Greens on matters that arise during these times

9.    A quorum for LGBTIQA+ Greens committee meeting will be at least half (5) of elected members.

10.    Every effort shall be made to reach decisions by consensus at general meetings. In the absence of consensus, decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote.

11.    LGBTIQA+ Green members will be entitled to volunteer to support the work of the committee. The committee shall have the power to constitute working groups to address governance, campaigns and other projects. Volunteers will not have voting rights on the LGBTIQA+ committee.

11. LGBTIQA+ Greens may raise funds on its own behalf or for GPEW or for campaigns in line with GPEW policy. These should be spent on activities to promote the group’s aims, as outlined above.

Our regional groups

12. LGBTIQA+ Greens shall have the ability to affiliate regional LGBTIQA+ groups, subject to a formal written agreement and terms of reference agreed by both parties. Affiliated groups and local parties will be expected to produce a written report for consideration at the AGM and shall be sent to the LGBTIQA+ Greens Chair no less than three weeks prior to this date.

13. The LGBTIQA+ Greens committee reserves the right to disaffiliate any group if it feels they are bringing the LGBTIQA+ Greens into disrepute. This will be done via a two thirds majority (6) of LGBTIQA+ Greens committee. 

14.      These groups have the right to appeal disaffiliation. They can submit an appeal within three months of the disaffiliation decision. Groups can have this decision revoked by a two third majority vote. 

Our Complaints and Disputes Procedure

1.        There shall be a Complaints and Disputes Subcommittee (C&D).

2.        C&D will be constituted of 3 members reps and two other committee members.

3.        It may also be that members have personal interests in the outcome of a case, or possess personal or professional relations, amicable or otherwise, with those involved in a case. They will be able to recuse themselves and see another member rep be substituted in

4.        Members are to submit complaints based on breaches of the LGBTIQA+ Greens Constitution, Green Party Constitution, Green Party Standing Orders, Green Party Code of Conduct or any other organisational policies of the LGBTIQA+ Greens, including Safe Space policies.

5.        Any complaints about another member of the LGBTIQA+ Greens, or disputes that a member feels they need help resolving, should go in the first instance to the co-chairs.

6.        In the first instance when a complaint is lodged, a member of the C&D will speak to involved parties and attempt to resolve the issue informally whilst maintaining clear records,

7.        Where any involved parties feel that hasn’t worked, or where any parties refuse the informal intervention, the complaint should be made in writing. All involved parties will have equal chance to state their own case.

8.        C&D Committee will consider the complaint and make a judgment, in writing, to all parties. Judgements should include a ruling on whether there have been breaches of the organisational policies of the Green Party of England and Wales and LGBTIQA+ Greens,

9.        After a judgement, C&D committee will make a recommendation of action to either or both complainants. In cases where there is a need for disciplinary action the will issue that decision.These disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to:

10.    Ban from LGBTIQA+ Greens Events/Spaces, for a period of up to 12 months

11.    Suspension of LGBTIQA+ Greens membership, for a period of up to 12 months

12.    Censure from holding a position within the LGBTIQA+ Greens, for a period of up to 12 months

13.    Permanent termination of membership

14.    If an individual; wishes to appeal a judgment made by C&D, they may do so by communicating to the LGBTIQA+ committee. The grounds for an appeal are if new evidence emerges, or if C&D broke procedure. The committee should look over the evidence presented by the appealer and may make a ruling on whether the appeals process should be initiated. In this case, appeals will be heard by a new group formulated on the same basis as C&D in 5.3 but excluding C&D members that made the original judgment. 

15.    There should be clear minutes and records of actions kept of all C&D meetings. These may be disclosed beyond C&D at the discretion of C&D Committee, and the need for confidentiality and fair treatment must be considered.

16.    A response to all initial complaints should be made to the initiator of the complaint within 48 hours of receiving the complaint, in which the standard process is outlined to them and how C&D intend to carry out the informal mediation.

17.    Informal mediation should start within 5 days of a complaint or dispute being lodged.

18.    A judgment should be made within 3 weeks of a complaint or dispute being lodged in writing following informal mediation failing or where the written statement refuses informal mediation

19.    Any requests for updates from any involved party should be responded to within 72 hours.

20.    Malicious complaints made against a LGBTIQA+ Greens member are serious and a breach of the principles outlined in the Constitution as well as the GPEW Code of Conduct. C&D Committee will dismiss malicious complaints and may notify relevant parties that a malicious complaint has been made.