The human side of the "Maine Human Rights Referendum"

This November voters will have a chance to approve or repeal the Maine Human Rights Act. If voters approve this referendum they wont actually be standing up for human rights as the title suggests. The referendum would do the following in Maine

1. Clarify marriage law limiting the institution of marriage to one man and one woman.
2. Forbid the establishment of civil unions.
3. Clarify adoption law to allow only one person, or a married couple, to adopt.
4. Remove the designation “sexual orientation” from the Maine Human Rights Act.
5. Eliminate funding for the Maine attorney general’s school civil rights team program.

There is a human side to this referendum, which we should always be in the front of our minds. RHKINC highlights the personal side of the Maine Human Rights Act on his blog Life(Politics, Current Events, Politics, Humor)

from Life:

Seeing the efforts of a civil rights team this year address obesity, and homelessness (even having a successful fundraiser for the shelter) along with numerous other racial issues I know the importance they have in Maine. There is discrimination and hatred in Maine and this group brings awareness to such problems in our public schools by having students who see it first hand be the ones to move for a more civil society.

A teenager a few years ago was killed in downtown Bangor because he was gay. His sexual orientation was the reason he was killed. Crimes of hatred should have stronger punishments and the MHRA provides for that.

The new rules for adoption would have prevented me from growing up in the best family in the world. I was adopted by two women. (They are simply lifelong friends, not lesbians; it is like the Golden Girls.) Preventing such adoption would remove so many options kids need to have in order for the best chance to grow up in a loving, providing family.

Not only preventing equal marriage, they would take away the provisions that allow some recognition to the love that same-sex couples have in the law. This vote places a civil society on the line from one of respect and equal opportunity to one of discrimination that permits hatred. This referendum must fail. Every point it makes is an insult to the cause of human rights.

The name itself could be misleading to those who vote. Seeing the title one has the internal gut reaction to support human rights and could vote yes without knowing it will actually remove rights that citizens in a country where all men are equal.

One commenter went on to make an argument I have made on this site before.

from Life:

Another point that you did not make and I understand as you were not alive then….the 5 points this group makes is very much like the inter-racial marriages of the past. Who needs a lawyer living in your bedroom seeing who you love and who you sleep with.

It would be a devastating blow to Maine if this passes. I hope there are enough rational people in this state to see through the smoke and mirrors to the heart of the issue. No one is asking for special treatment or extra rights, just to enjoy the same rights as everyone else.

This will be a tough battle, but I am hopeful that Mainers will see the light on this issue.

The referendum I spoke of yesterday has been approved for circulation for the 2010 ballot according to Citizen’s Initiative and People’s Veto website. There is no mention of it on any of Michael Heath’s (the proponent of the measure) ventures. I have been told Heath has dropped the issue the season, likely to focus support on the People’s Veto of the same-sex marriage bill.


3 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing the message.

  2. More than glad to do whatever I can.

  3. You've got to check your facts. There will be no such referenda on the ballot this November. The only items will be (1) people's veto of gay marriage; (2) excise tax cut; (3) Taxpayer's Bill of Rights; and (4) repeal of school consolidation.

    This initiative was abandoned by its proponents months ago.

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