Our Current Agenda

In the Legislature

The 2021 legislative session is just starting to heat up, but we've already passed one priority bill into law! Read more about our wins here, and learn about the rest of our priority bills below!

LD 29 - An Act To Conform the Maine Apprenticeship Program to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 - SUPPORT
Both federal and Maine law prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This bill amends the Maine Apprenticeship Program to bring it into compliance with federal Equal Employment Opportunity Act standards, including clarifying that employment nondiscrimination protections also apply in apprenticeships.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 173 - An Act To Restore Honor to Certain Service Members - SUPPORT
Since World War II, more than 100,000 Americans are estimated to have been discharged from the military due to their sexual orientation or gender identity with discharge statuses of “other than honorable,” “general discharge,” or “dishonorable,” depending on the circumstances. As a consequence, many of these service members may be disqualified from accessing certain benefits that they earned and are entitled to, and may not be able to claim veteran status. This bill requires the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services to establish a process for a veteran who separated from service without an honorable discharge due solely to the veteran's sexual orientation or gender identity to have that discharge treated as an honorable discharge for purposes of determining the veteran's eligibility for rights, privileges and benefits under state law.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it was passed by the legislature and is awaiting further action by Governor Janet Mills!

LD 222 - An Act to Update the Maine Parentage Act - SUPPORT
The Maine Parentage Act promotes the security of children and families. It does so by providing clear routes to legally establish a parent-child relationship, and without regard to the circumstances of a child’s birth or whether their parents were unmarried or used medical assistance to have a child. All children need the legal parent or parents who both love their child and assume responsibilities such as care and custody of the child, medical and educational decision making, child support, and health insurance coverage. This bill clarifies and expands access to Voluntary Acknowledgements of Parentage and allows adult children conceived through gamete donation, and in some instances their legal parents while the child is a minor, to obtain information about their gamete providers when those providers choose to share it.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it received majority support in committee and awaits further action in the House and Senate

LD 926 - An Act To Ban Biological Males from Participating in Women's Sports - OPPOSE
This terrible bill is a total ban on transgender youth participating in sports. Specifically, the bill discriminates against transgender girls. The bill could also subject girls to an intrusive medical inquiry to prove their gender. It’s a blatant violation of Maine’s non-discrimination law that has been on the books for more than 15 years. It also violates NCAA policies, and if passed could disqualify Maine teams from participating in NCAA championships in any sport. This bill is part of a coordinated nationwide effort by out-of-state anti-LGBTQ activists who have been attacking our community for years. They have failed in their campaigns against LGB adults, so now they are shifting their efforts toward transgender children. Transgender children are not harming girls’ sports. It’s not an either/or scenario. We can celebrate girls’ sports and not discriminate against transgender children, and make sure that young people can thrive and excel. We can protect fairness, equity and inclusion for everyone.  
EqualityMaine opposes this bill; it has been referred to committee and has not yet been scheduled for a public hearing

LD 1115 - An Act To Improve Access to HIV Prevention Medications​ - SUPPORT
This bill requires health insurance carriers to provide coverage for HIV prevention drugs, such as PrEP and PEP, that have been determined to be medically necessary by a health care provider without imposing prior authorization or step therapy requirements. The bill also authorizes a pharmacist to dispense HIV prevention drugs under certain conditions without a prescription, subject to rules for dispensing and protocols adopted by the Maine Board of Pharmacy.
EqualityMaine supports this bill; it will receive a public hearing in committee soon

In Congress

HR 5 / S 393 - Equality Act - SUPPORT 
The Equality Act is a major piece of nondiscrimination law that would protect LGBTQ+ Americans nationwide. While Maine has long included sexual orientation and gender identity in state nondiscrimination law, the patchwork nature of state laws means that LGBTQ+ people are not equally protected in every state. The Equality Act would expand federal protections against discrimination to many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, public accommodations, and access to credit.

Both of Maine's Members of Congress, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Jared Golden, cosponsored the bill and voted for its passage in the House. Sen. Angus King cosponsored the Senate version of the bill. Although she has cosponsored the bill in the past, Sen. Susan Collins declined to cosponsor this version of the Equality Act. 

EqualityMaine supports this bill; it passed in the House of Representatives and is currently being debated by the Senate. 


In the Courts

In June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that the prohibition on sex discrimination contained within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, the Court ruled that an employee could not be fired simply for being gay or transgender. Since taking office, President Biden has instructed federal agencies to implement the Bostock ruling to combat discrimination in other areas governed by federal law, such as housing and education. 

Maine has had comprehensive non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in state law since 2005, when a strong majority of voters rejected a People's Veto effort led by extremists Michael Heath and the Christian Civic League.

In November 2020, the Supreme Court heard another case that has implications for LGBTQ+ people, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In this case, the City of Philadelphia did not renew its contract with a religious foster care agency upon learning that the agency did not place children in the homes of married same-sex couples. The Court will rule whether city contractors - that is, organizations paid with taxpayer funds - can deny services to LGBTQ+ people. A decision is expected by June 2021. 

We'll provide further information on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia in the coming months. Prior to the Bostock v. Clayton County ruling, we spoke with Mary Bonauto, our superstar colleague from GLAD, to discuss the case and its implications. Watch our conversation with Mary on Zoomin' With EQME below:

© 2021 EqualityMaine

web site design and hosting by Artopa, LLC