Maine: Petitioners want to put queer people ‘back in the closet’

Paul Madore and Michael Heath are gearing up to launch a petition drive to remove "sexual orientation" from Maine's anti-discrimination law.

Paul Madore and Michael Heath are gearing up to launch a petition drive to remove "sexual orientation" from Maine's anti-discrimination law. Erin Rook

In Maine, it’s been illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation since 2005, but LGBTQ-rights opponents want to change that. Two well-known conservative Christian activists announced Friday that they are preparing a petition drive to repeal those protections, WCSH reports.

Michael Heath and Paul Madore are leading the effort to strike “sexual orientation” from the state’s Human Rights law. They say that the law is part of a “sexual orientation agenda” that is hurting their families by denying their religious freedom and promoting immorality. Repealing the language would take Maine back to the days when it was legally to discriminate against someone for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

“Very simply, it moves a behavior that belongs in the closet back in the closet,” told WCSH.

The language for the proposed ballot initiative was approved in April and the pair said they plan to begin collecting signatures by November. LGBTQ advocates said that even if the measure makes it to the ballot, it’s not likely to pass:

But the leader of the group Equality Maine, which led the effort to pass same-sex marriage, said he thinks most Maine people don’t want to resume the fight over the issues. Matt Moonen said Heath and Madore represent an “extreme element,” which he believes most Maine voters will reject if the referendum vote Heath wants becomes reality.

The activists are also opposed to marriage equality, which passed in Maine in 2012, though it is not included in their current petition. Watch the full story below.

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