Opposing An Act to Amend the Application of the ME Human Rights Act Regarding Public Accommodations
GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi presented testimony yesterday before the Maine Judiciary Committee in opposition to LD 1046: An Act to Amend the Application of the Maine Human Rights Act Regarding Public Accommodations.
The proposed legislation would remove protections for transgender people in public accommodations that have been in place in Maine law for five years. As Jennifer said in her testimony yesterday, the current law has been working for five years, and this proposed amendment would only create more confusion - and litigation - for businesses while sanctioning discrimination in Maine.
GLAD Testimony on Proposed Maine HIV-related Legislation
GLAD submitted testimony April 7, 2011 on two bills before the Main legislature concerning proposed changes to HIV-related law concerning privacy and mother-to-child transmission.
Excerpt from testimony on LD 596
GLAD opposes LD 596 which would eliminate all medical privacy protections in Maine law for HIV status (5 MRSA § 19203-D, ¶¶ A-B). The eradication of specific prohibitions on the disclosure of a patient’s HIV status without the patient’s specific consent will harm individuals and undermine critical public health goals to increase testing and ensure that individuals with HIV seek medical treatment. As the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States concluded in July 2010: “The stigma associated with HIV remains extremely high and fear of discrimination causes some Americans to avoid learning their HIV status, disclosing their HIV status, or accessing medical care.” Read the full testimony
Excerpt from testimony on LD 702
GLAD shares the goal of implementing the best public health strategies to eliminate Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV. As explained below, the gold standard public health strategy to reduce MTCT is to ensure that every pregnant woman is offered an HIV test and, if positive, receives medication that will protect her health and reduce the risk of MTCT to less than two percent. For this reason, GLAD supports the provision in this bill requiring physicians to offer HIV testing to all pregnant women. GLAD believes, however, that this provision does not go far enough and must include a requirement that physicians explain to pregnant women the benefits of HIV testing during pregnancy. Read the full testimony
The Way Life Should Be: Marriage Equality in Maine
Update, July 31, 2009: Anti-equality organizers have filed signatures with the Secretary of State.
Read a statement from No on 1/Protect Equality.
The support of all Mainers who believe in equality is crucial to protecting the hard-won right to marriage for all Maine citizens. To get involved in the campaign, visit No On 1/Protect Equality today.
Equality opponents in Maine have launched a campaign to subject marriage equality to a “people’s veto”. Opposition leaders have indicated the campaign’s aim is to put the question on the November 3 ballot, meaning they must gather 55,087 signatures and submit them to the Secretary of State by August 1. They have contracted with Schubert Flint Public Affairs group, the California based PR firm that lead the successful Prop 8 ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples in California of the right to marry, to help them accomplish their goal.
But pro-equality advocates are organized and ready to fight to protect marriage rights for all Mainers. Maine Freedom to Marry is a unified campaign bringing together the field organization and mobilization skills of EqualityMaine, the legal expertise of GLAD, and the public outreach capacity of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. To spearhead the anti-referendum campaign, Maine Freedom to Marry has hired Jesse Connolly, who lead the successful 2005 “Maine Won’t Discriminate” campaign where a significant majority of Mainers voted to keep sexual orientation in the state’s non-discrimination policy.
Video: Why Marriage Matters
Protecting Our Children: Marriage Equality in Maine
Fairness and Respect: The Heart of Who We Are in Maine
Read more about the progress of marriage equality across New England.
Marriage Equality Hearing in Maine April 22
Thousands of people turned out for the public hearing on the Maine marriage equality bill on April 22 at the Augusta Civic Center.
GLAD posted updates on testimony at the hearing on Twitter.
Watch the video: Fairness and Respect - The Heart of Who We Are in Maine.
Visit the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition website for more information.
In the News:
Portland Press Herald: Nearly 4,000 Turn Out for Hearing on Same-Sex Marriage
Portland Press Herald Editorial: No Time for Compromise on Same-Sex Marriage
Gay Mainers to have Family Medical Leave
Maine’s legislature passed a bill extending the protections of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to same-sex couples and their families. Working with Equality Maine, the Maine Civil Liberties Union, and the Maine Women’s Lobby, GLAD helped organize testimony, planned media strategy, and talked to lawmakers about this important legislation. The bill, which Governor Baldacci signed into law on June 8, enables lesbian and gay employees to take time off work to care for a sick partner or partner’s child.
Background: One Familie’s Story
Near the end of her struggle with cancer, Sandy Osterby’s partner Donna wanted nothing more than to have Sandy by her side. And Sandy was there – once her co-workers generously donated their own sick time to her. That extraordinary generosity was necessary because Sandy and Donna were not covered by Maine’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The untenable choice between job security and urgent family needs was addressed this session by an amendment to Maine’s FMLA to include “domestic partners.” As of this writing, the bill passed Maine’s Senate by a vote of 28 to 5, passed the House by 95 to 41, and was signed into law by Governor John Baldacci.
GLAD worked with Equality Maine, the Maine Women’s Lobby, and other partners to push the legislation through while also demonstrating how many existing workplace protections benefit married families but not unmarried families. Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto testified before the Labor Committee, prepared an analysis of how marriage advantages working families, and talked with newspaper editorial boards to explain the issue. GLAD also helped people like Sandy to tell their own stories, both to legislators and to the media.
LGBT equality organizations and allies also testified about the differences between religious and civil marriage, workers compensation reforms, tax inequities, and access to absentee ballots.
“Family medical leave is only one of the many ways that gay and lesbian couples and families are harmed because they can’t marry,” said Bonauto. “This represents a step forward – but it would be far better and fairer to make comprehensive rather than piecemeal changes.”
GLAD’s Mary Bonauto Testifies in Support of Maine Anti-Discrimination Regulations
GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto today presented testimony in favor of proposed regulations for implementing Maine’s ant-discrimination law. The law, ratified by voters in 2005, provides protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and education. The regulations are significant in providing a working definition of gender identity and gender expression.