Joe mentioned the victory of Tea Partier Paul LePage in Maine with 38% of the vote. It’s worth noting, though, that this is not just a lost opportunity to restoring marriage equality in Maine. There is real potential here for backwards movement on equality on all fronts.
In February, LePage called into the radio show “Aroostook Watchmen” and offered his bigoted thoughts on both transgender children and the Maine Human Rights Act, which protects LGBT Mainers from discrimination. MPBN notes that LePage later said he didn’t remember making these comments and backed off his position on the Human Rights Act (while maintaining some opposition).
On the Human Rights Act extending to LGBT residents, LePage said:
My thinking would be it clearly needs to be brought back and reformed, the law needs to be reformed. In fact, I’m not even so sure that the rules that they’re putting in place now don’t need to go back to the Legislature. I think that they’ve gone beyond the intent of the law, and they’re clearly making the law, in my mind at least. I think it probably should be challenged and brought back to the Legislature.
And on children who identify as transgender, he offered:
You know, our children are being used as pawns. I just don’t understand how people, at least sane people, would want to allow transgender in our primary schools and our high schools.
LePage is a homophobe and a real threat to equality for LGBT Mainers. He’s also a threat to a whole host of services that Mainers rely on, like public education and state services. We’re going to have to keep a close eye on his efforts to push back on equality.