Our Record of Advancing Equality

 

Our community has seen remarkable progress over the years, but it didn’t just happen. We gave our time, our energy, our money, and together we did the hard work to change hearts and minds. Here is the product of that collective effort (so far!)

2020

In the Legislature

LD 1764 - An Act to Update the Maine Insurance Code
This bill prohibits discrimination against people on PrEP in life insurance, disability income insurance, and long-term care insurance. PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy where HIV-negative individuals take a single pill once a day. The medication works to prevent HIV from establishing infection inside the body. By denying coverage to folks who take smart and responsible action to protect themselves, insurance companies were creating a perverse incentive for people to stop taking PrEP in order to get the insurance coverage they need.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 1771 - An Act to Amend the Law Governing Name Changes
This bill makes it easier for transgender or gender nonconforming people in Maine to obtain a waiver of the publication requirement when making a legal name change, by making “reasonable fear for the person’s safety” the only criteria they have to meet. For many transgender or gender nonconforming people, publishing their name change could put their safety in jeopardy by outing them to the public. At a time when transgender and gender nonconforming people experience violence at exponentially higher rates than their cisgender peers simply for being trans, this law helps reduce some of that risk by making it easier to receive a publication waiver.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!
 

2019

In the Legislature

LD 1 - An Act to Protect Health Care Coverage for Maine Families
This landmark bill put several key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act into state law. Now, no matter what happens in Congress or in the courts, Mainers will be able to rest assured that they can get health care that includes coverage for pre-existing conditions. As a result, people living with HIV/AIDS won’t have to pay exorbitant premiums or lose access to life saving treatment. And the bill’s prohibition on exclusions for trans health in private insurance plans means that so many transgender Mainers will be able to get the care that they need, when they need it.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 1025 - An Act to Prohibit the Provision of Conversion Therapy to Minors by Certain Licensed Professionals
Few practices hurt LGBTQ+ youth more than attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through so-called “conversion therapy” - the scientifically discredited premise that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a defect or disorder that can be treated. This bill prohibits state-licensed medical and mental health professionals from administering this “treatment” to minors.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 1475 - An Act to Eliminate Profiling in Maine
This bill prohibits profiling on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, socioeconomic status, age, national origin or ancestry by law enforcement. The bill also requires that training of law enforcement officers include anti-profiling education and instruction, and directs the Attorney General to establish procedures for receiving, investigating and responding to complaints alleging profiling by law enforcement officers or law enforcement agencies.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 1632 - An Act Regarding Criminal Procedure with Respect to Allowable Defenses
This bill prohibits the use of the gay and trans “panic” defense - a legal strategy that asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity explains, and often excuses, a defendant’s violent reaction. For a community already facing a disproportionate risk of violence, the gay and trans “panic” defense quite literally adds insult to injury because it allows a defense attorney to use a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity against them in court, sending the message that violence against LGBTQ+ people is acceptable, and even justifiable.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 1701 - An Act to Clarify Various Provisions of the Maine Human Rights Act​
This bill makes several changes to the Maine Human Rights Act in order to clarify its proper application and interpretation, including finally providing a definition of gender identity and separating it from the definition of sexual orientation. In addition, this bill requires that places of public accommodation designate all single-occupancy restrooms as gender-neutral. This does not require new construction of gender-neutral restrooms but that current single-occupancy restrooms in public places be designated as gender-neutral.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 1803 - An Act to Update the Laws Regarding Death and Marriage Records
This bill makes changes to the laws governing marriage records and the filing, correction and amendment of death records, including removing outdated language that describes marriage as “the union of a man and a woman” to conform with the marriage equality law passed by the voters in 2012. These changes reflect the will of Maine voters who recognized all marriages as equal, not placing value on heterosexual marriages or judgement on LGBTQ+ marriages.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills!

In the Administrative Process

Making MaineCare Trans-Inclusive
While the passage of LD 1 prohibited exclusions for trans health in private insurance plans, our state’s version of Medicaid - MaineCare - still had this exclusion. As a result, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services initiated rulemaking to bring MaineCare into alignment with private insurance. Along with our partners at GLAD, MaineTransNet, and Maine Women’s Lobby, we testified in favor of the change, and in the fall DHHS finally adopted a rule removing the exclusion and officially providing coverage for medically necessary care for transgender Mainers.

Eliminating the Medical Provider Requirement for Changing Gender Markers on Driver’s Licenses and State IDs
We worked with Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to secure a historic change to driver’s license and state ID applications, allowing Mainers to select their appropriate gender marker, including non-binary, without requiring approval from a medical provider. Now, whether someone is getting their ID for the first time or changing the gender marker on their current ID, they can do so without bringing additional paperwork.
 

2018

In the Administrative Process

Allowing the Option of a Non-Binary Gender Designation on Driver’s Licenses and State IDs
In a historic agreement, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles - a division of the Department of the Secretary of State - began offering the option of a non-binary gender designation on driver’s licenses and identification cards. The agreement was the result of a complaint filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission by attorney and then-EqualityMaine board president, Zack Paakkonen, on behalf of his client, Ian-Meredythe Dehne Lindsey. As a result of this change Maine became the third state in the country, and the first in New England, to adopt non-binary gender designations on driver’s licenses and ID cards.
 

2017

In the Legislature

LD 611 - An Act to Amend Certain Laws Affecting the Judicial Branch
Access to a trial by a jury of one’s peers is an American right, and while Maine law had long prohibited discrimination in service on a jury based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, economic status, marital status, age or physical handicap, it did not explicitly prohibit discrimination in jury service based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Because a trial by a jury of one’s peers cannot be truly realized without protections from discrimination during the process of jury selection, and the lack of equal representation in juries could result in unfair trials, particularly for victims or defendants who are LGBT, this bill proposed to explicitly prohibit discrimination in jury service based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and although Governor LePage refused to sign it, it still became law!
 

2016

At the Local Level

Together with our partners in the Coalition to End Transgender Healthcare Discrimination in Maine - MaineTransNet, ACLU of Maine, and Consumers for Affordable Healthcare - we worked with the City of Portland to update its health insurance plan for city employees and their dependents by removing exclusions for trans health care. The City Council voted unanimously to make Portland became the first city in the state to affirmatively vote for trans-inclusive health insurance.
 

2015

In the Legislature

LD 1017 - An Act to Update Maine’s Family Law
We know that family forms are diverse: LGBT people are among those using medically assisted reproduction and surrogacy to bear and nurture the next generation. Because Maine’s law lagged behind this reality, contentious “winner takes all” court battles over who has parental rights were disrupting settled relationships that children should have been able to count on. Under this bill, parental rights will be determined based on parental responsibility and existing parent-child relationships, enabling all children to be accorded the same rights without regard to the marital status or gender of the parents, or the circumstances of the child’s birth. This is great news for LGBT Mainers who are parents and LGBT Mainers who want to be parents someday, because they will no longer have to worry about their parental rights being challenged based on outdated laws.  It is great news for kids because they won’t have to worry that they will be treated differently just because they have LGBT parents.
EqualityMaine supported this bill; it was passed by the legislature and although Governor LePage vetoed it, the State House and State Senate both overrode the veto unaninmously and it became law!

© 2020 EqualityMaine

web site design and hosting by Artopa, LLC