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Maine: Voters Uphold Gay-Rights Law

Following last week’s election, Maine became the last state in New England to extend discrimination protection to gays and lesbians. The state legislature passed an amendment to the Maine Human Rights Act that prohibited discrimination on the basis of “a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression,” in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education, reports the Portland Press Herald. Maine voters then had the chance to repeal the law using a “people’s veto,” but nearly 57 percent of voters supported the law, which went into effect immediately after the election.

This was the third time that Maine voters addressed the issue of including homosexuality in anti-discrimination laws; the measures failed in 1998 and 2000. Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to last week’s election, telling the Associated Press, “This is such a much-needed victory for our national community, because we’ve experienced so many losses.”

Sadly, Texas became the 19th state to adopt a constitutional ban on gay marriage in last week’s election, with 76 percent of voters supporting the ban, reports the Washington Post.

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Sources:

Associated Press 11/9/05; Portland Press Herald 11/9/05; Washington Post 11/9/05