Thursday, March 31, 2005

More on Maine

The Portland Press-Herald detailed the reactions to Maine's new anti-discrimination law for homosexuals.

As background, a similar measure passed in 1993; then Governor John McKernan vetoed it. Then when one passed in 1997, Governor Angus King signed it. However, in 1998, led by the Michael Heath's Christian Civic League, a voter referendum got on the ballot in 2000. The law was overturned by a very narrow margin.

In the form of the Lewiston-based Maine Grassroots Coalition, Heath's folk will try again. They need 70,000 signatures and hope to draw on Catholics to help in the effort. Co-leader of the drive, Paul Madore, was quoted as, "It's going to be tough. There's no question about it."

The bill this time had broad bipartisan support.

According to the Bangor Daily News piece on the bill, the anti forces have only 90 days after the legislature adjourns this week to produce 50,519 valid signatures for this "people's veto" referendum. Heath told the paper he would announced today whether he'd give it a go.

The article also reports,"If LD 1196 becomes law, Maine will join 15 states, including the rest of New England, in protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. About a dozen Maine communities, including Bangor, already have similar laws on the books.

"LD 1196 has an exception for religious organizations that do not receive public funds."

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