Mainers who showed their support for the victims of Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, say the attack has made the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community determined to not succumb to fear.

The attack, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded early Sunday morning, coincided with the beginning of Pride Portland, an annual 10-day celebration of Portland’s LGBT community.

“This attack was designed and intended to instill fear. That’s what these attacks are intended to do,” said Matt Moonen, executive director of EqualityMaine, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “It’s really important that people here in Maine and the nation not give in to that.”

Moonen said the vigils scheduled for Monday night in Portland and a half-dozen other cities around the state were proof that Mainers won’t be bowed by hate. City officials and faith leaders were scheduled to attend several of the vigils.

“I’m really amazed by how many vigils are popping up around the state,” Moonen said. “That’s really powerful to see.”

Mainers “are with us and support us,” Moonen said, adding that they encourage people to attend Pride events to show support.


“Don’t let fear stop your pride,” WJBQ morning radio host Lori Voornas, a co-host of Portland’s Pride parade, wrote on her blog. “There are terrorists in this world, there are gay bashers in this world … but our pride is bigger. Our community is bigger. The love is stronger than hate.”

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck declined to say if the department was changing its security plans for Pride events in the wake of the shooting.

“The City of Portland continues to be a safe place to live, work and raise a family, but the harsh reality of life in 2016 is that we are forced to maintain a high level of vigilance during any and all public events, including the Pride Portland events,” he said in a statement.

The grand marshal of the city’s parade on Saturday told the New York Times that security issues crossed her mind after the shooting.

“On the one hand, how can you not help but feel nervous?” said Mary L. Bonauto, a Portland native and civil rights lawyer who successfully argued last year’s Supreme Court landmark case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. But she also worried about an anti-Islam backlash. “I was thinking, ‘Should I wear a T-shirt that says, ‘Don’t judge the many by the few’ – something to show some solidarity?” she said.

Portland’s vigil, planned for 8:30 p.m. at City Hall, is sponsored by EqualityMaine and Pride Portland and will include remarks by Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and local faith leaders, Moonen said.


Other vigils planned around the state include:

• Bangor at 8:30 p.m. at City Hall, with EqualityMaine and the Bridge Alliance. Brewer Mayor Bev Uhlenhake and local faith leaders are expected to attend.

• Auburn at 6 p.m. at First Universalist Church.

• Bar Harbor at 8 p.m. on the Village Green.

• Ellsworth at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

• Machias at 7 p.m., at the Machias Falls Pedestrian Bridge.

• Hallowell at 7 p.m., at Granite City Park.

This story will be updated.

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