Rally for Equal Rights
"Bigotry is wrong," said Dexter Bellows, Hancock Selectman in response to the announcement late today that the opponents of Maine's newly enacted equal rights law, LD 1196, have succeeded in gathering enough signatures to send the issue to referendum. "We stand together in support of friends and family, affirming that they will not continue to be the victims of legalized discrimination."
Having gathered today in support of the law, there was disappointment mixed with fierce determination among the members of Maine Won't Discriminate.
"Well, it's disappointing, certainly, but I don't think it's an indication of how Mainers really feel. Discrimination is not a family value," said local therapist and human rights worker, Peter Rees.
Having been signed into law by Governor Baldacci after passing the state legislature with a wide margin of victory, LD 1196 has broad bipartisan support. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Council of Churches and the Maine Civil Liberties Union, as well as many others have all publicity endorsed this law. Supporters feel this will result in victory come November.
"It's amazing," said local coordinator, Heather Martin-Zboray, "we've had calls from all over, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens--people eager to help protect human rights. No one should have to fear for their job, their home, their credit line or their education just because of their sexual orientation. If you look at a map of our area, Maine is all alone in not offering this protection to our citizens. Is that really the way life should be?"
The drive to block the equal rights law was headed by the Christian Civic League, which many local pastors find ironic.
"At the center of Jesus' message is the call to practice love and justice toward all people", said the Rev. William Bigelow, one of the attendees at today's rally. "The Christian Civic League does not speak for many Christians, churches and other faith communities in Maine."
The issue now goes to the voters. The Bill to End Discrimination in the State of Maine comes up for vote Tuesday, November 8th.
The Ellsworth American has photos of the rally up on their website.
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