PORTLAND – Maine is one step closer to protecting all people from discrimination after the Senate today voted down LD 1428, a bill that would allow people to claim their religious beliefs allow them to ignore important laws. The ACLU of Maine testified against the bill, which goes far beyond protecting religious liberty. The vote was 19-16 against the current version of the bill, which makes no exceptions for the Maine Human Rights Act.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right that is protected by both the Bill of Rights and the Maine Constitution. LD 1428 goes beyond those protections, allowing a person to use personal religious beliefs to claim the right to break important laws that are meant to protect us all,” said Oamshri Amarasingham, policy counsel for the ACLU of Maine. “This bill would undermine the Maine Human Rights Act and its protections against discrimination that Mainers fought for years to put in place. It could harm public safety, lead to discrimination, and dramatically increase the number of lawsuits clogging our court system.”