The vote had been put off for weeks, but when it finally came time for the Maine House to take up a bill that would remove protections for transgender people from the Maine Human Rights Act, we felt somewhat confident that we had the votes to defeat it--not totally confident, but after speaking to every representative in the building, we believed that a slight majority saw this bill for what it was: discrimination, hostility towards a minority, and a world of potential trouble for businesses.  A slight majority was all we needed--one vote would do the trick--but people change their minds, or misunderstand.  We all would have felt more confident with a bigger margin.

But when the debate started, a shift emerged  One after another, members of the Maine House got up to talk about how wrong it was to discriminate.  Representatives talked about friends who are transgender, or about transgender people who contacted them about this bill.  A number of them spoke about a courageous transgender girl who visited the statehouse with her father to share her own story.  At the end of the night, the House voted down the bill, and instead of a 4 vote margin there was a 20 vote margin.  The lopsided vote was repeated the next morning in the Senate.

This bill would have had such an unnecessarily cruel affect on people's lives, and the more we worked on it, the more passionately all of the advocates felt about it.  It was such a gift to be able to have the opportunity to try to protect people from discrimination, and the moment that the vote total flashed on the House board was one of the happiest of my career.