In this season of good will to all humankind, people across Maine will show again their generous hearts to those less fortunate. As we care for the needs of the oppressed and disenfranchised let us not forget that here in Maine the civil rights struggle goes on. One of the last bastions of discrimination is now ready to “birth” a new day when heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual citizens will all enjoy equal rights under the law.
Hopefully, this new day will also see the “family values” of love, honesty, personal integrity, hard work and good citizenship celebrated wherever these values occur in our society. It will truly be an occasion to rejoice when people are able to honestly express their love for someone of the same sex and have that love and committment afforded the same respect and lawful protection as those in heterosexual relationships.
Now is the time for parents to love and support their gay children for who they are. To stand silently on the sidelines as our brothers and sisters, co-workers and neighbors are denied basic civil rights is the coward’s way, proof that the promoters of homophobia have triumphed over justice. Currently, it is not safe in Maine to “come out” and live an open and honest life among ones fellow citizens.
Mental health professionals have long known and affirmed that people attempting to come to terms with their sexual orientation need, above all, a safe environment in which a person’s true feelings can be explored. The best way for the people of the state of Maine to create such a safe environment is to overwhelmingly support the Act to Prevent Discrimination as amended to include sexual orientation. This amended law forbids: “Discrimination in employment, housing, public accomodations, and credit on the basis of sexual orientation, except that a religious corporation, association or organization is exempt from these provisions.”
When it is time to vote on this issue on Feb. 10, we will have yet another chance to bring peace, justice and good will to all humankind. Please vote no to repealing this Act to Prevent Discrimination. William L. England, Eda M. Morrison, Hugh Morrison, Ann W. Rea, Dr. Ellen Lenney, Mark Anderson, Joan Reif, Frances B. Graham, Paul C. Graham, Connie Insley, Bangor; Denis Noonan, Holden; Claudia R. Harvey, Hampden; Adella Reidt, Joan R. Day, Brewer