Maine voters endorse gay rights law

By | November 11, 2005

Good news abounds from election day this past Tuesday. First up is Maine, where voters overwhelingly endorse a gay rights law. By a vote of 56% – 44%, Maine chose to not repeal an anti-discrimination law. This vote clearly shows that Maine residents believe that people are people, and should not be treated differently because they are different.

Hopefully this level-headed view of this issue will propogate throughout the rest of the nation.

The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and education. It defines sexual orientation as “a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression.”

The law says it is not intended to redefine marriage, which a separate state law defines as the union of a man and a woman. But opponents of the law, led by the Christian Civic League of Maine and the Maine Grassroots Coalition, argued during the campaign that keeping the gay rights law on the books would pave the way for legalizing same-sex marriage.

Maine Won’t Discriminate, which led the fight to retain the law, countered that the law had nothing to do with marriage. Supporters said discrimination against gays and lesbians is a fact of life in Maine, so the Legislature did the right thing by amending the Human Rights Act to ban such practices.

Voters who backed the law said they did so because discrimination is wrong, regardless of the basis for it. “People have the right to be who they are” without worrying about losing a job or an apartment as a result, said singer Kattie Webber of Farmingdale.

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