Our Accomplishments

Some highlights of our accomplishments include:

  • Since 1992, EqualityMaine Foundation’s Joel Abromson Memorial Scholarship Fund has given more than $20,000 in scholarships to young champions of equality, supporting a new generation of grassroots leadership in Maine.
  • In 1993, EqualityMaine helped draft, lobby and pass legislation that amended the Maine Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ+ people from hate crimes.
  • In 1999, EqualityMaine helped draft, lobby and pass legislation extending the same hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples as married spouses and immediate family members
  • In 2001, EqualityMaine passed legislation requiring insurance providers in Maine to provide health care policies that include domestic partnership coverage to employers that request it. 
  • In 2002, EqualityMaine helped Westbrook uphold its local non-discrimination ordinance and provided support and testimony to Cumberland County’s successful efforts to provide domestic partner benefits to all of its employees.  
  • In 2004, EqualityMaine passed a statewide domestic partnership law that extended inheritance rights, next-of-kin status for funeral and burial arrangements, and guardian and conservator rights to same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples. 
  • In 2005, EqualityMaine passed a non-discrimination law based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodations. EqualityMaine worked with the Maine Won’t Discriminate campaign to uphold the non-discrimination law and secure a resounding victory at the polls, making Maine the 16th state to include sexual orientation and the 6th state to include gender identity and expression in a statewide non-discrimination law.
  • Also in 2005, EqualityMaine defeated a constitutional amendment on marriage, and worked in coalition with other progressive groups to defeat an anti-choice “gay gene” bill and two anti-LGBTQ+ sex education bills.
  • In 2006, EqualityMaine Foundation, along with coalition partners Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Maine Civil Liberties Union, produced a DVD featuring three same-sex couples from Maine who talk about their relationships and families and why being able to marry is so important. 
  • In 2007, EqualityMaine passed family medical leave legislation that addressed some of the inequities that gay and lesbian families face in the workplace. The bill amended Maine’s Family Medical Leave Act to include domestic partners. We also played a role in legislation that addressed absentee ballots, workers compensation, and tax-filing status for domestic partners. 
  • In 2008, EqualityMaine ran a decline-to-sign effort and successfully prevented Michael Heath from gathering enough signatures to repeal our non-discrimination law, defund civil rights teams, eliminate joint and second parent adoption and outlaw civil unions through a citizen initiative. EqualityMaine volunteers talked with more than 4,000 pro-equality voters at the polls on primary election day and outnumbered Heath’s signature collectors 3-1.
  • In 2009, EqualityMaine and our coalition partners in the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition launched a formal campaign to win the freedom to marry. During the legislative public hearing on the marriage bill, attended by more than 4,000 people, we outnumbered our opposition 3 to 1 and created an unforgettable “sea of red.” 
  • In May 2009, we passed marriage equality legislation by solid margins in both the senate and house, making Maine the first state to pass a marriage bill through the legislature and have it signed by the governor. The law was overturned later that year through a People’s Veto initiative.
  • In 2010, EqualityMaine launched a community-based organizing project to increase support for the freedom to marry in rural areas and the faith community.
  • In 2011, EqualityMaine launched an unprecedented field campaign to have one-on-one persuasion conversations with conflicted Maine voters and gathered tens of thousands of signatures from every county in Maine to put marriage on the ballot in November 2012. 
  • Also in 2011, EqualityMaine and our coalition partners defeated an anti-trans bathroom bill, one of the first stand-alone trans bills in the country, and passed statewide anti-bullying legislation.  
  • In 2012, EqualityMaine and the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition launched a Citizens’ Initiative ballot measure campaign to win the freedom to marry and on Election Day, Maine became the first state to win the freedom to marry without legislative or court approval and the first state to bring marriage directly to its voters. 
  • In 2013, we launched new efforts to make equality real for our most vulnerable community members, including LGBT youth and elders, transgender Mainers and LGBTQ+ people living in rural Maine, and created the 24 member Maine LGBTQ+ coalition.  
  • In 2014, EqualityMaine successfully defeated an Indiana-style “religious freedom” bill that would have created loopholes in our non-discrimination law.
  • In 2015, EqualityMaine worked with 8 openly gay and lesbian state legislators, a historic high, to defeat yet another “religious freedom” bill, and to successfully pass an LGBTQ-inclusive update to the state’s family laws - the “Maine Parentage Act.”
  • In 2016, EqualityMaine worked with our partners at MaineTransNet, ACLU, and Consumers for Affordable Health Care to make Portland the first city in the state to remove exclusions for trans health care from the city’s health plan for employees and their dependents
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