• Marriage in Maine

Legislative Priorities

Currently, our primary legislative goal is to defeat LD 1428, a proposal that would create sweeping exemptions to every Maine law and would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. 
 
LD 1428 is Unnecessary and Would Be Harmful to Mainers
 
LD 1428 goes far beyond Maine’s existing religious protections.  Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Maine Constitution.  But unlike our existing religious freedom protections, LD 1428 puts one individual’s beliefs ahead of the common good of all Mainers.
 
LD 1428 could allow a person to take advantage and use personal religious beliefs to claim the right to break important laws that are meant to protect all of us, like laws on domestic abuse, discrimination and public safety that affect whole communities. As a result, LD 1428 could dramatically increase the number of lawsuits and clog our courts, increasing costs for taxpayers.
 
Everyone’s religious beliefs should be respected, but no one should be above the law.
  • LD 1428 would allow anyone who claims that a law or regulation has burdened their religious freedom to sue for monetary damages, no matter how minor, incidental or indirect the alleged infringement is.
  • It creates a pre-emptive cause of action, allowing someone to sue if they merely expect their religious freedom to be burdened, without showing harm.
  • It makes no exceptions for civil rights, health care, criminal behavior or public safety.
 
Maine already has strong protections for religious freedom.
  • The Maine Constitution and the U.S. Constitution explicitly protect religious freedom.  
  • The Maine Human Rights Act explicitly protects people from discrimination on the basis of religion.
  • There are 13 individual statues in Maine that protect religious freedom in everything from property tax, to militia service, to immunization and school absences for children.
 
LD 1428 creates many problems and solves none.
  • Religious freedom is protected in Maine, and there is no evidence that Maine’s existing religious protections are not working.
  • Maine already has a law that says that doctors and nurses can’t be required to participate in the performance of an abortion, if they object.  LD 1428 would, however, open the door to possible claims by health care professionals that they have the right to refuse to provide any medical service based on their religious beliefs, regardless of existing state laws or governing standards of care.  
  • This proposal creates a gaping exemption to every Maine law, allowing people to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to break laws that apply to everyone else.  
  • LD 1428 would circumvent the non-discrimination laws and their requirements that any individual or entity treat all persons fairly, regardless of race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.   
  • This bill could dramatically increase the number of lawsuits against state and local governments, and cause them to incur large legal costs.
 
Laws like LD 1428 have fostered lawsuits and discrimination in other states.
  • In Texas, a public bus driver refused to drive a passenger to Planned Parenthood, citing his religious beliefs. (Graning v. Capital Area Transportation System)
  • In Florida, an employer who believed pregnancy outside of marriage is a sin fired an unmarried pregnant employee. (Hamilton v. Southland Christian School)
  • In Georgia, a student enrolled in a university counseling program claimed that she had the religiously based right to defy professional standards and condemn gay clients. (Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley)

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