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Breaking: Maine Rejects ‘Religious Freedom’ License To Discriminate Against Gays

by David Badash on February 20, 2014

in Bigotry Watch,Civil Rights,News,Politics,Religion

Post image for Breaking: Maine Rejects ‘Religious Freedom’ License To Discriminate Against Gays

“Please vote to end the war on gay people in our state.” So said Maine Democratic State Rep. Matthew W. Moonen, speaking this morning in opposition to a Republican sponsored bill that would allow anti-gay discrimination by anyone for any reason, as long as they could claim it was done under their sincerely held religious beliefs.

LD 1428 “would carve out an exception for religious beliefs in the state’s non-discrimination laws, such as the Maine’s Human Rights Act,” said Maine’s Speaker of the House, Mark Eves, in a published statement. Eves added it “would undercut human rights protections and women’s rights by creating a loophole in the state’s strong non-discrimination laws.”

This afternoon, after several hours of debate, the Maine House rejected the religious license to discriminate legislation, following the same move last week by the Maine Senate. The vote was 89-52. For now, the legislation in the state of Maine is dead.

Moonen’s Democratic colleague, Rep. Andrew J. McLean, told the House that the legislation, LD 1428, “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom” actually denies religious freedom.

Rep. Justin Chenette, who at 22 is the youngest openly-gay legislator in America, talked eloquently and vehemently about how the bill would affect him. “Religious freedom is important, but this bill makes me feel like a second-class citizen… Name me an issue in Maine — I still haven’t heard one.”

“There isn’t an issue. This is a bill searching for a problem, rather than solving one,” Chenette told his colleagues. “This wastes taxpayer money… It’s fiscally responsible to oppose it.”

But GOP Rep. Alex R. Willette was of a different mind. He claimed that LD 1428 would not be a license to discriminate, nor would it “open a Pandora’s Box” to allow anyone to get away with anything.

Rep. Willette was mistaken, as was Rep. Michael McClellan, who noted that there are “eighteen states who already have this legislation.”

That point is very interesting, because there has been a dastardly, organized, concerted effort to infect all 50 U.S. states with these so-called “religious freedom restoration acts.”

LD 1428 may be dead in Maine, but there are many other attempts right now in states across the nation.

This isn’t going away any time soon.

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Mykelbarber February 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm

There is a complete list of the States who are trying to enact Jim Crow laws in recent article at Mother Jones.

LOrion February 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm

MAY NOT BE OVER… BUT THAT MAY BE THE BEST THING ABOUT IT!.. Its getting lots of press and waking many people up! So keep it coming. There was a great KOS piece noting all the hard work in Tennessee to defeat their bill. They had constituents call their reps..200,000 calls. and ALL THOSE WHO CALLED now have the name and # of their reps! Many were young..a great way to begin activism!

maineiac14 February 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Not surprising for Maine to refuse such a law, after all they were the first state to permit SSM by referendum. Unfortunately we do still have a significant number of the right-wing extremists to deal with but hopefully with our governor being considered the "craziest" in America people will have had enough of him and his party in the upcoming November election.

Makikijoe February 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

Thank you Maine.

I know it's cold up there. But you apparently have warm hearts.

I hope you can dump Susan Collins in the next election. She's good on gay rights but she STILL votes with the Repugnant-cans most of the time.

And your governor is a bit mental.

But you can always vacation HERE in beautiful Hawaii.

radsenior February 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm

EA-type radical extremes have totally corrupted the once proud Republican party. Everyone in America has the same rights, except those the TEA-Republicans want to segregate into a separate sub-class. Waving the religious flag is just as blatant as Rafael Eduardo Cruz and Sarah Palin waving the Confederate flag and the TEA party "Don't Tread on Me" flag. It doesn't matter that TEA-Republicans will run their right-winged candidates and hawk their narrow, skewed notions of sub-classes just because they want it. Religious freedom includes everyone in this nation. Segregation or creating sub-sets of others does not fit into God's plans or words. Nazi's did it and world war two resulted. The Confederate war, called the war between the states, came about because southern states wanted slave labor. The Confederacy lost, but many still hold grudges and speak down to those of a different color. The right to discriminate by any group or segment against others also does not fit into God's plans. Wars have been started over discrimination throughout the centuries and still occur today. America is better than that!

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