Group Seeks to Remove Sexual Orientation from Maine’s Anti-Discrimination Law

Jul 8, 2016

Supporters of an effort to repeal the prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation say they will focus on the fall election to collect signatures to put the question on the ballot.

A group calling itself Equal Rights Not Special Rights says it will focus on polling places this fall because of huge expected turnout. The measure would remove discrimination based on sexual orientation from Maine’s human rights law.

“This citizens’ initiative when successful will simply remove the phrase sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act,” says Mike Heath, one of the group’s organizers. “Seventy to eighty percent of registered voters will be turning out. So in that one day, if we do our homework, if we do our work well, we could gather a large chunk if not all the signatures that we need.”

But they will have opposition, with Equality Maine pledging to have supporters of the law at polling places urging Mainers not to sign the petition. They argue Mainers have voted on the issue and don’t want to vote on it again.

“We are going to be talking to voters about this issue,” says Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine. “The voters 10 years ago made it very clear that they think discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is wrong. We are just going to ask them to reiterate that again and hopefully not sign this petition.”