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Lesbian and Gay Rights Law Delayed in Maine

One day before it was scheduled to take effect, conservatives presented a petition for a referendum on the law that would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal.

Approved by the Maine Legislature earlier this year, the law bars discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, public accomodations, credit and employment. Elections officials are currently verifying the number of names on the petition as well as the authenticity of the signatures. If enough valid signatures are confirmed, the law will be reconsidered in a referendum this winter.

Michael Heath, director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, claimed that people who do not want to “celebrate homosexuality” were having their civil rights violated. Karen Geraghty, former president of the Main Lesbian-Gay Political Alliance, said “I’m disappointed because groups of fundamental Christians are unwilling to accept that the law has been (enacted).” She expects voters to uphold the law, because in 1995 they defeated a referendum that would have denied civil rights for homosexuals.

Sources:

AP - September 19, 1997