Our Current Agenda

In the Legislature

The 2021 legislative session is speeding towards adjournment, and we've already passed three of our priority bills into law! Read more about our wins here, and learn about the rest of our priority bills below!

LD 222 - An Act to Update the Maine Parentage Act - SUPPORT
The Maine Parentage Act promotes the security of children and families. It does so by providing clear routes to legally establish a parent-child relationship, and without regard to the circumstances of a child’s birth or whether their parents were unmarried or used medical assistance to have a child. All children need the legal parent or parents who both love their child and assume responsibilities such as care and custody of the child, medical and educational decision making, child support, and health insurance coverage. This bill clarifies and expands access to Voluntary Acknowledgements of Parentage and allows adult children conceived through gamete donation, and in some instances their legal parents while the child is a minor, to obtain information about their gamete providers when those providers choose to share it.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the Governor

LD 855 - An Act Regarding the Issuance of Birth Certificates Following a Gender Marker Change - SUPPORT
This bill codifies the ability to apply for a gender marker change on a birth certificate, and clarifies that a new birth certificate may not be marked "amended."
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 879 - An Act Clarifying the Acceptance of Public Funding by Community Benefit Organizations - OPPOSE
Current law is carefully balanced: it both protects LGBTQ people from discrimination and accommodates religious corporations, associations, or organizations that might have faith-based objections to including LGBTQ people by exempting them from the law if they do not receive public funds. This terrible bill proposes to throw out this balance by giving taxpayer dollars to those corporations who would discriminate against LGBTQ Mainers. But the reality is that private corporations do not have a right to taxpayer dollars. In contrast, the government does have a right to decide where it directs taxpayer funding and should not subsidize discrimination with taxpayer dollars.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the Governor

LD 926 - An Act To Ban Biological Males from Participating in Women's Sports - OPPOSE
This terrible bill is a total ban on transgender youth participating in sports. Specifically, the bill discriminates against transgender girls. The bill could also subject girls to an intrusive medical inquiry to prove their gender. It’s a blatant violation of Maine’s non-discrimination law that has been on the books for more than 15 years. It also violates NCAA policies, and if passed could disqualify Maine teams from participating in NCAA championships in any sport. This bill is part of a coordinated nationwide effort by out-of-state anti-LGBTQ activists who have been attacking our community for years. They have failed in their campaigns against LGB adults, so now they are shifting their efforts toward transgender children. Transgender children are not harming girls’ sports. It’s not an either/or scenario. We can celebrate girls’ sports and not discriminate against transgender children, and make sure that young people can thrive and excel. We can protect fairness, equity and inclusion for everyone.  
EqualityMaine opposes this bill; a majority of the committee voted to reject it and it awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 1044 - An Act to Protect the Rights of Certain Incarcerated Individuals - SUPPORT
This bill requires that in Maine jails and prisons, a person's consistently held gender identity be respected and acknowledged, irrespective of anatomy or physique. Housing placements and search practices to be consistent with the person’s gender identity except when such placement or search would present significant management or security problems to the facility or threaten the health and safety of the person. Such person shall have access to commissary items, clothing, personal property, programming, and educational materials that are consistent with the person’s gender identity. Staff shall address the person in a manner that is consistent with the person’s gender identity.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 1115 - An Act To Improve Access to HIV Prevention Medications​ - SUPPORT
This bill requires health insurance carriers to provide coverage for HIV prevention drugs, such as PrEP and PEP, that have been determined to be medically necessary by a health care provider without imposing prior authorization or step therapy requirements. The bill also authorizes a pharmacist to dispense HIV prevention drugs under certain conditions without a prescription, subject to rules for dispensing and protocols adopted by the Maine Board of Pharmacy.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 1238 - An Act To Protect Women's Single-Sex Shelters - OPPOSE
This terrible bill exempts from the definition of "place of public accommodation" in the Maine Human Rights Act privately owned and operated facilities that provide emergency shelter to women or temporary housing for women who are in reasonable fear of their safety. If passed, these shelters would be allowed to discriminate based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin. 
EqualityMaine opposes this bill; a majority of the committee voted to reject it and it awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 1401 - An Act To Prohibit Biological Males from Participating in School Athletic Programs and Activities Designated for Females at Schools That Receive Federal Funding - OPPOSE
This terrible bill is a total ban on transgender youth participating in sports. Specifically, the bill discriminates against transgender girls. It’s a blatant violation of Maine’s non-discrimination law that has been on the books for more than 15 years. It also violates NCAA policies, and if passed could disqualify Maine teams from participating in NCAA championships in any sport. This bill is part of a coordinated nationwide effort by out-of-state anti-LGBTQ activists who have been attacking our community for years. They have failed in their campaigns against LGB adults, so now they are shifting their efforts toward transgender children. Transgender children are not harming girls’ sports. It’s not an either/or scenario. We can celebrate girls’ sports and not discriminate against transgender children, and make sure that young people can thrive and excel. We can protect fairness, equity and inclusion for everyone.  
EqualityMaine opposes this bill; a majority of the committee voted to reject it and it awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 1539 - An Act To Provide Access to Fertility Care - SUPPORT
This bill requires health insurance plans in Maine to provide coverage for fertility diagnostic care, fertility treatment, and fertility preservation services starting on or after January 1, 2023. This would greatly expand the ability of many Mainers, including those who are LGBTQ, to plan for and build their families.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received unanimous support in committee and has been referred to the Bureau of Insurance for a rate study

LD 1550 - An Act To End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products - SUPPORT
This bill prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars and electronic smoking devices. LGBTQ young adults are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as their non-LGBTQ counterparts, and 4 out of 5 young people who use tobacco started with a flavored product. High rates of tobacco use within the LGBTQ community are not an accident; they are due to aggressive and predatory marketing efforts by tobacco companies via advertisements in our publications and product promotions and giveaways at Pride festivals and other community events. One tobacco company even gave their advertising campaign targeting LGBTQ people a special name: Project SCUM (Sub-Culture Urban Marketing). It's time to stand up to the predatory behavior of big tobacco. We can't let them get away with calling us "Scum" while getting our kids hooked on their products. It's time to end the sale of flavored tobacco in Maine.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 1688 - An Act To Improve Consistency within the Maine Human Rights Act - SUPPORT
This bill addresses inconsistencies in the protections provided in different areas of jurisdiction under the Maine Human Rights Act. The bill provides more inclusive protection by: including adult family members dependent for care in the definition of "familial status"; including familial status as a protected class in employment; including age as a protected class in public accommodations; and clarifying the scope of the Maine Human Rights Act application in education. The bill also clarifies that the sexual orientation provisions in the Maine Human Rights Act extend to gender identity.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

In Congress

HR 5 / S 393 - Equality Act - SUPPORT 
The Equality Act is a major piece of nondiscrimination law that would protect LGBTQ+ Americans nationwide. While Maine has long included sexual orientation and gender identity in state nondiscrimination law, the patchwork nature of state laws means that LGBTQ+ people are not equally protected in every state. The Equality Act would expand federal protections against discrimination to many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, public accommodations, and access to credit.

Both of Maine's Members of Congress, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Jared Golden, cosponsored the bill and voted for its passage in the House. Sen. Angus King cosponsored the Senate version of the bill. Although she has cosponsored the bill in the past, Sen. Susan Collins declined to cosponsor this version of the Equality Act. 

EqualityMaine supports this bill; it passed in the House of Representatives and is currently being debated by the Senate. 

 

In the Courts

In June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that the prohibition on sex discrimination contained within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, the Court ruled that an employee could not be fired simply for being gay or transgender. Since taking office, President Biden has instructed federal agencies to implement the Bostock ruling to combat discrimination in other areas governed by federal law, such as housing and education. 

Maine has had comprehensive non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in state law since 2005, when a strong majority of voters rejected a People's Veto effort led by extremists Michael Heath and the Christian Civic League.

In November 2020, the Supreme Court heard another case that has implications for LGBTQ+ people, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In this case, the City of Philadelphia did not renew its contract with a religious foster care agency upon learning that the agency did not place children in the homes of married same-sex couples. The Court will rule whether city contractors - that is, organizations paid with taxpayer funds - can deny services to LGBTQ+ people. A decision is expected by June 2021. 

We'll provide further information on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia in the coming months. Prior to the Bostock v. Clayton County ruling, we spoke with Mary Bonauto, our superstar colleague from GLAD, to discuss the case and its implications. Watch our conversation with Mary on Zoomin' With EQME below:

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