GA delegates passed five Actions of Immediate Witness with little or no discussion in the sixth and final plenary session Sunday afternoon. One AIW, on ending present-day slavery in the fields, had passed at the morning plenary.
According to the UUA bylaws, Actions of Immediate Witness are resolutions “concerned with a significant action, event, or development, the timing or specificity of which makes it inappropriate to be addressed by a UUA Statement of Conscience.” They should be focused and urgent enough to require immediate action. In 2007 the AIWs included: Pass the Employment Non-discrimination Act with Transgender Inclusion and Protection; Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education; Support Immigrant Families; and Repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
The following AIWs were endorsed at the sixth plenary session:
The first AIW, Single-Payer Health Care, was the only one to engender discussion. H.R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act (Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Bill), advocating a single-payer system was submitted to Congress in April. The AIW urges UU congregations to lobby their representatives to co-sponsor and pass HR 676. “It's time our nation, founded on promoting the common welfare, promoted healthcare for all,” said the Rev. Lucy Hitchcock Seck of Miami, Fla.
Single-payer health care is a system in which doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists are paid out of one pot of money, usually provided by the government.
Opponents said that single payer health care was not the same as universal health care. “The bill narrows down the possibilities for universal health care coverage,” said John Harky of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. “Single-payer peels away a lot of the support for universal coverage.”
Despite objections, the AIW passed with a majority.
The following AIWs passed with no discussion: Oppose a U.S. Attack on Iran; Raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $10 in 2010; Extend the Tax Credit for Wind and Solar Power; and Oppose the Florida and California Marriage Protection Initiatives.
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.