PORTLAND — EqualityMaine – the state’s oldest and largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization – attended and was recognized during the reading of a Joint Resolution in recognition of Pride Month at the Maine State House this morning.
Legislators read statements from the floor after the reading of the Joint Resolution by the Speaker of the House, Rachel Talbot Ross.
Many shared some of the stories of the LGBTQ+ policy initiatives introduced over the years, beginning with the first bill introduced by the speaker's father, the Honorable Gerald Talbot, in the 1970s, which expanded the Maine Civil Rights Act.
Floor speeches recognized the many organizations and people that have contributed to the progress of LGBTQ+ Civil Rights in Maine to date.
Additionally, the Maine LGBTQ+ Legislative Coalition, which consists of EqualityMaine, Maine Women’s Lobby, MaineTransNet, ACLU of Maine, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), OUT Maine, Portland Outright, and Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, has been united this legislative session working to defeat as many as 40 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced this year.
It is also working in solidarity to support nearly 30 proactive LGBTQ+ bills that would make the lives of LGBTQ+ Mainers better.
As the nation witnesses the avalanche of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being passed across the country, and sees the real fear and hostility LGBTQ+ people are experiencing in many states, the LGBTQ+ community in Maine has support from the majority of elected officials in Augusta, including Gov. Janet Mills. The Coalition is hopeful that its current legislative goals will be achieved by the end of this session.
Despite the many successes for equity and equality this legislative session in Maine, there are many other initiatives that are important to the Coalition that haven’t crossed the finish line yet.
The Coalition stands resolutely against discrimination because of race, ethnicity, immigration status, and family status. Our community partners and friends, each of which includes LGBTQ+ people, need and deserve support from all of us. When immigrants receive the medical care and coverage they need under MaineCare; when law enforcement is prohibited from profiling; when federal laws applicable to tribal nations and self-governance are restored to the Wabanaki Nations; and when people can support their families with paid leave – then the LGBTQ+ Coalition will find cause to celebrate. Until then we remain united with Maine communities in pursuit of equity and equality for all.