Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Maine state Senate rejects religious freedom bill

Thursday, February 20, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers have rejected a bill designed to strengthen legal protections for religious freedom in the state.

Maine state capitol in Agusta.

Maine state capitol in Agusta.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 19-16 to reject the bill before sending it to the House for further consideration.

Republican Sen. David Burns of Whiting says his bill would ensure that the state must have a strong justification before it can infringe upon someone’s religious liberty.

Opponents say the bill is unnecessary because religious freedom is already protected under the Maine Constitution and federal and state laws. They say the bill will have significant unintended consequences and roll back years of progress for human rights, and could create a path to unraveling the state’s same-sex marriage law.

Burns dismissed the idea that the bill allows religious people to get away with anything they want and says the opposition fails to understand the bill’s purpose.

Lawmakers in five other states recently introduced “religious freedom” bills targeting same-sex couples, mostly in response to the rapid advancement of marriage equality.

The bills were defeated or withdrawn this week in South Dakota, Kansas Tennessee, and Idaho, but a bill in Arizona is moving forward and being debated in the state House on Wednesday.

The Maine bill varied from the others as it’s language didn’t not specifically reference sexual orientation, gays and lesbians or same-sex couples.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: ,

Filed under: Maine

28 more reader comments:

  1. Garrett Piersa

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:25pm
  2. If it walks, quacks, and looks like a republican it must be a bigot. Keep your god out of my government. Thank you and “Bless your heart.”

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:26pm
  3. This. Oh "God" this.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:44pm
  4. they saw through the smoke screen, that this was nothing more than an effort to create legalized discrimination!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:27pm
  5. THERE’S ONLY ONE MORE DAY PEOPLE!

    Are you confident that your life or
    the life of someone you know
    would make for great reality TV?!?
    Is there just so much going on? Love, sex
    gossip, drama, work, children, husband,
    wife, side piece, secrets, friendships, loss
    of love or a loved one and so much more…

    JUST 1 MORE DAY to send in your
    AUDITION TAPES for the HOT NEW
    LGBT based Reality Series!!! Please
    send in 3-5 minute tapes stating why
    YOU are our next cast member.

    Are you in or around the Los
    Angeles are? Are you a successful,
    driven, interesting personality?
    Are you a member of the LGBTQ
    community? THEN WE ARE
    LOOKING FOR YOU!!!

    DEADLINE: 2/21/14
    EMAIL: 5footnuthinproductions@gmail.com

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:28pm
  6. Fuck you, get off this page you scum.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:44pm
  7. Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:34pm
  8. Maine has a wack job governor who got elected because of a voting nightmare so they are lucky these Dems have some kind of control. I am so sick of these conservative religious nut jobs….why doesn’t it cross their minds that their religion isn’t mine and to stop shoving it down my throat…they are bigots!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:43pm
  9. Uh, how about no? Especially considering most ‘reality’ series are exploitive (never mind fake?).

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:44pm
  10. WTH?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:13pm
  11. Bravo Maine! Bravo!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:23pm
  12. Good job Maine.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:24pm
  13. Just because you have freedom of religion does NOT give you the freedom to discriminate. Your freedom of religion doesn’t trump my freedom from religion! ;-)

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:29pm
  14. YAY MAINE!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:32pm
  15. It passed here in AZ :(

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:41pm
  16. finally – a state with some sanity and sense

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:45pm
  17. Should a state pass one of these laws, may a Muslim, Buddhist, Humaninist, or one of any other religion discriminate against a Christian because Christian beliefs are disdained?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:07pm
  18. what?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:18pm
  19. Sad that they think they need protection. Guess maybe the old adage “do unto others” may be creeping up.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:22pm
  20. Well, good for Maine, but it’s disturbing that it was even discussed . . .

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:22pm
  21. Bravo Maine. I guess the real Christians live there.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:14am
  22. are you kidding?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:09am
  23. Good job please do it as u can

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 4:32am
  24. …that stupid shit will never fly in the north east or any other place on earth where people actually have a fucking brain!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 4:54am
  25. How does one go about putting a bill through that churches start paying taxes

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 8:43am
  26. Thank you Maine for standing on the side of equality.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:08am
  27. You want religious freedom? Start your own fucking country. ENOUGH of this religious fucking bull shit.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:18pm
  28. Nice try at a rollback of abortion and marriage equality laws. The U.S. Constitution already deals with the questions of religious freedom. NICE TRY by the “Christian” right to do that which is UNCHRISTIAN.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:33pm