April 08, 2020

The special referendum of Feb. 10 concerns but one issue, namely discrimination. We must not let the various agendas of groups seeking to repeal the legislation in question to confuse the matter.

As one who, as an ordained Presbyterian minister, has been extensively involved in the life of the Christian church and as one whose professional career has been spent in higher education as both a professor and a president, I have witnessed on too many occasions the dreadful consequences of prejudice and discrimination inflicted on people because of their race, creed, and-or sexual orientation. It is, of course, tempting to solve a problem by denying its existence. But that tactic, deceitful and destructive as it is, never can work.

We must not expect the state to resolve ambiguous moral issues. That is a task left to other agencies and associations, including the churches, synagogues and mosques of America. But we must demand that governments protect the rights of all. And when evidence abounds that these very rights are denied, even subtly, then government must act as did earlier our legislature and governor.

So, let the moral issues of sexual orientation, be it heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, be elsewhere debated. But let us as citizens make a resounding statement on Feb. 10 that Maine does not, cannot discriminate against anyone as a citizen endowed by his or her creator with certain inalienable rights. And we will do that by voting no. Oscar E. Remick Ellsworth

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