Pride Month is a time to celebrate the progress we have made on a more just, diverse and inclusive society. It’s a time to look back at the pioneers who broke new ground for freedom, love and acceptance. And it’s a time to look to the future, prepare for the work that must continue and take a stand for what is just and right.

As we look ahead to November and the race for governor, the choice for Maine – and Maine’s LGBTQ community – is clear.

Gov. Janet Mills has earned the EqualityMaine endorsement for re-election and stands in stark contrast to her opponent, former Gov. Paul LePage, as the right choice for Maine. Mills is a strong, thoughtful and compassionate ally. During her time as governor, she has delivered for Maine’s LGBTQ+ community, leading the way on important reforms and fighting for the ability of our community to live our lives openly and as our true selves. Mills has earned re-election with her steady leadership during challenging times.

In just four years as governor, Mills has built an impressive list of policy accomplishments. On her first day in office, Mills expanded health care to more than 70,000 Mainers, helping members of the LGBTQ community who too often have difficulty accessing appropriate and timely health care. Mills is also a staunch protector of access to abortion care.

She led our state through the dangers and economic harm of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting her trust in science and listening to a chorus of voices from the health care, business, legal and social justice communities. She put the well-being of Maine residents and businesses first. Mills’ leadership in these areas has been critical to every Mainer.

The governor has also set herself apart with policies that directly affect our community. She signed into law a ban on the discredited and dangerous practice of conversion therapy. She banned health insurance providers from excluding transgender people and she restored benefits to military veterans who were discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Mills supported legislation to require private health insurance policies in Maine to expand access to fertility care and eliminated old regulations that required people, including transgender people, to publish legal notices to change their name.

Advertisement

Under her watch, the state has made it easier for transgender Mainers to get identification documents that match their gender identity, and Mills has stood steadfast to protect transgender students who want to participate in school sports. Under her administration, transgender women can still receive help from homeless shelters, and the so-called “gay-panic” legal defense – little more than a faulty justification for violence – has been eliminated from Maine’s courts.

Mills has a proven track record of working with Democrats, Republicans and independents for the benefit of all Maine people, and she has shown unwavering support for Maine’s LGBTQ+ community. By contrast, LePage, who is challenging Mills this election, has shown open hostility toward our community.

LePage vetoed legislation that would have banned the harmful practice of conversion therapy. He blocked the expansion of Medicaid despite overwhelming support from Maine voters, inappropriately denying health care to thousands of Maine people. LePage joined anti-transgender lawsuits in other states, abusing his authority. He even joined a Virginia lawsuit in an attempt to block a transgender student from using the appropriate restroom.

LePage has also opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage, used an anti-gay slur against a Maine lawmaker, referred to people of color as “the enemy” and used crass, sexualized language to attack the State Senate president.

The choice in November is clear. Mills will help lead our state to a stronger, more prosperous and more diverse future. LePage would try to take us backwards, sinking our state again into needless controversy, vitriol and regressive policymaking.

As we celebrate Pride Month and all that has been accomplished, we know our progress is tentative and at risk. Mills is the best choice for Maine.

— Special to the Press Herald


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: