Speaking as a member of the Judiciary Committee for the Maine Legislature in a work session on Jan. 23, Rep. Matthew Moonen, D-Portland, called efforts to protect religious freedom “offensive.”

Moonen was attacking L.D. 1428, which is a good bill and has been passed by 18 other states. He said some “faith organizations had spent millions of dollars to deny gay couples the right to marry and now were ‘playing the victim’ by claiming that they had been discriminated against based on their religion.”

Even apart from the inaccuracies of his claim, there is a deeper warning in his statements. If any other class of people had been publicly accused by a public official, we still would be hearing the screams from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and Maine Democratic party leaders. He displayed the very attitude that leads to widespread discrimination.

Moonen seemed to forget that he was part of spending even more millions of dollars on the same ballot question that was brought by his favorite organizations. His obvious bias and animosity led him to vote against reasonable legislation intended to protect every Maine citizen, regardless of their faith tradition. By his own statements, he proved the need for L.D. 1428. Legislators do not have a right to protect only their friends. Maine deserves better.

Bob EmrichPlymouth

(Editor’s note: Emrich served as the chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, which led the campaign against the same-sex marriage initiative in 2012.)