Tag Archives: Maine

Victories for the LGBT Community and for Humanity

8 Nov

ENDA copyThe past week has seen a number of big events in LGBT news and the majority have been very positive. It’s nice to have a chance to celebrate!

A major milestone happened yesterday when the U.S. Senate finally passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Some version of the law — which prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity — has been in the works for nearly 40 years. The current ENDA has been floated in almost every Congress since 1994; the inclusion of gender identity has been a point of contention and has been in and out of the bill. The current version is the most comprehensive, requiring most employers with more than 15 employees to comply and with a very narrow religious exemption. ENDA was a lifetime goal of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D – MA). Just before he died, he passed the torch to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D – OR), who was instrumental in similar legislation in this state. I’m very proud of our Senator for pushing so hard to make this a reality.

I feel that such discrimination is wrong and our vision of equality in the Constitution, our vision of the pursuit of happiness in the Constitution and kind of a fundamental sense of fair play—all of those things mean that it is just wrong for people not to have a fair shake at getting or retaining a job.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid built on the post-shutdown debacle momentum and rounded up enough Republican support to break a filibuster. In fact, when opposition voices were invited to speak, no one stepped forward, not even rabid opponents like Ted Cruz. After a bit of amendment posturing, the bill got a full vote and passed by an impressive  64 – 32 vote. Now it’s up to House Speaker John Boehner to move it forward. He has expressed skepticism, saying that ENDA would lead to “frivolous lawsuits.” Points to Sen. Reid for this sharp rebuke:

Speaker Boehner opposes ENDA for fear of frivolous lawsuits? He led a frivolous lawsuit defending DOMA that cost taxpayers over $2 million!

Well said, Sen. Reid. Let’s hope the House can help move equality forward. President Obama has expressed his full support and encouraged Boehner to do the right thing.

On the marriage front, Illinois is on the verge of becoming the 15th state to have full equality for same-sex couples. The Illinois House finally passed a Senate bill from May. Gov. Quinn has indicated that he will sign the bill soon. When he does, another 13 million Americans will live in a place with marriage equality, moving the nation up to 37%. In Hawaii, a similar bill is moving forward and seems likely to pass by the end of the year. True equality is never piecemeal, but this is certainly movement in the right, inevitable direction.

Also in workplace protection news, Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe has said that his first act after being sworn in will be to reinstate an Executive Order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for state workers. How nice to see him living up to his promises already!

Also on the gubernatorial front, things heated up in Maine this week. Toxic Governor Paul “Tea, please” LePage tried to start a smear campaign against his chief competitor, Rep. Mike Michaud. Showing his rabid disregard for many of his constituents, he hinted that Michaud was gay and that this was sufficient grounds to vote against him. Merging the kindergarten playground with McCarthyism — how lovely! Michaud’s response was flawless:

Yes, I am. But why should it matter? […] I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position, openly acknowledge the fact that he’s gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better.

Well said, Rep. Michaud, and best of luck in next year’s election.  I guess current Gov. LePage is only interested in serving selected residents of his state.

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Marriage Equality Poised for Historic Gains in November

15 Sep

This November voters in four states are poised to make historic votes on marriage equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington have voter initiatives to create full marriage equality; Minnesota faces the latest in a decade-long string of state constitutional amendments to limit marriage to heterosexuals. What makes the 2012 elections especially interesting is the history of marriage equality votes. No state so far has adopted marriage equality through direct voter approval, depending instead on legislatures and courts. More significantly, all 28 states that have presented voters with constitutional amendments to ban equality have succeeded. It seems very likely that this November will see a major shift in these trends.

MAINE: In 2009, the Maine legislature approved marriage equality, replacing the existing limited civil union law. Anti-gay forces pushed the law to the ballot and defeated it 53-to-47. Since then, Mainers United for Marriage has worked diligently to change hearts and minds through a massive public education campaign. Question One on the November ballot will give voters a chance to re-establish full marriage equality in the state. The most recent poll shows the Question passing 57-to-35.

MARYLAND: Maryland also has limited civil union rights; it is also one of only three states that recognizes same sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Last March after strong lobbying from Marylanders for Marriage Equality and other groups, the legislature approved a marriage equality bill which was signed by the Governor. It was promptly referred to the ballot by anti-gay organizations as Question 6. Equality is polling strong in Maryland as well, at 57-to-37; it received a big boost — especially among the state’s African American population — when President Obama expressed his support in May.

WASHINGTON: Earlier this year Governor Christine Gregoire pushed the legislature to pass a marriage equality bill, which it did. As with Maryland, the bill was promptly referred to the voters as Referendum 74. Washington United for Marriage has mounted a strong public awareness campaign that also seems to be paying off. A poll released this week shows equality leading 56-to-33.

MINNESOTA: Unlike previous congressional election years, there is only one state with a marriage ban on the ballot this year. Minnesota is one of the few states with no law regarding same sex marriage at all. The Republican-led majority in the legislature passed an amendment in 2011 which requires approval by the voters. Minnesotans United for All Families is working hard to make their state the first to reject such an amendment. The vote on this measure is tighter, but the ban seems to be failing 43-to-49 in the latest polls.

True equality can only happen when the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is overturned and every citizen of every state has the right to marry the person they love. With every poll putting equality outside the margin of error and with most surviving even if all the undecideds swing negative, there is reason for optimism. Victory in just one state would be revolutionary; providing and protecting equality in all four would signal a sea change in American attitudes.

Republicans Snowed Out…

29 Feb

This Party is Crazy--I Have to Get Out!

Not that I have ever been a particular fan of Olympia Snowe  (of course she looks reasonable compared to the rest of her party), but I do admire her honesty and integrity for naming the problem within her party that is causing her not to seek re-election.  Senator Snowe cited “excessive partisanship in the Senate” as the primary driver of her decision.  I guess she has not been paying attention to the misogynistic foolishness in the House of Reps.  It is no small secret that the latest attacks on women’s health by Republicans  has incurred the wrath of both Snowe and Collins (both female Republicans from Maine).

How sad that the lunacy of the right wing Republicans can chase out moderate voices of reason like Snowe–what kind of Carnival has the GOP turned into?  This does not bode well for history.  At present, 21st century Republicans wear the banner of: “We Hate Women; We Hate Gays; We Hate People of Color; We Hate the Poor; We Love Being the 1%.”  One need go no further than to listen to Multi-Millionaire Mitt Romney and the homophobic, woman-hating clown Rick (the P is silent) Santorum to see just how out of touch these people are with Americans.

Snowe dropping out is a much bigger deal than people realize–this may very well be the harbinger of good fortune reasonable Republicans and Democrats have been waiting for.  While Maine did elect the Mad Hatter LePage as their governor, it is doubtful they will elect another toxic Tea Bag, which may create a far more attractive Senate with a new Maine Democrat and a new Massachusetts Democrat.  Perhaps there is some hope for the 99%.

The Many Voices in Paul LePage’s Head

21 Jan

Great idea! I will shut down the public schools!

While I have never thought Paul LePage was a good human being, I am now worried that he really has something organically wrong that further precludes him from being qualified to maintain the office of Governor.

Yesterday, LePage, in his typical partisan bullying voice, declared:

And I’ll go one step further, if they can modify it–and a lot of Democrats still think we’re fooling around and we’re making political hay here. Right now, in order to continue the way we are, I will close schools May 1 and use that money. Because that’s where we are.

Shall interject some facts here?  LePage has been all about protecting the 1% of the wealthiest Americans and now it looks like he is refusing to raise taxes to sustain education.  Of course, by keeping a population ignorant we can ensure they vote against their best interests.

Emily Cain, the House Democratic Leader, said:

LePage is presenting a choice that isn’t on the table. It’s not realistic to simply say you can just close schools. It’s hardly worth even discussing, because that’s really not what we’re deciding between. It’s a very dramatic–and I think a dangerous–fear-mongering approach.

Sadly, we just have further evidence that LePage has been drinking some rancid Tea at the party.  We can only hope Maine will go the way of Wisconsin right now.  One thing for sure is that we have to get rid of these misogynistic, racist, homophobic, bigoted elected officials.

Women’s History: May 3

3 May

Happy Birthday, Golda Meir

May 3 is a big day in Women’s History. Today we will be celebrating Maud O’Farrell Swartz, Golda Meir, and Nellie Tayloe Ross.

Happy Birthday, Golda Meir.  Meir was Israel’s fourth Prime Minister, as well as being the first woman to serve in that office.  Meir served as Prime Minister during the very difficult Yom Kippur War.  I personally feel Meir showed great wisdom and restraint and true leadership during this war. It was only a few months later that she resigned at Prime Minister.  I’m not sure how world leaders survive any type of war–regardless of the circumstances, I can only imagine that any war scars the soul.  Hard to believe this Russian born-woman, later a teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, would eventually become one of the key players in establishing the state of Israel in 1948.

Happy Birthday, Maud O’Farrell Swartz.  An Irish immigrant, Swartz became a suffragist here in the States. Swartz became a strong voice in the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) and in the labor movement.  Swartz served as president of the WTUL from 1922-1926, during a period when the organizing efforts declined in a business climate less friendly to unions–sound familiar?  Wisconsin and Maine must not be too familiar with history.

Finally, I would like to recognize Nellie Tayloe Ross.  Ross was the first female Director of the U.S. Mint, appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Quote of the day:

 It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? … Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.–Golda Meir

Florida: Now You Are Surprised by Rick Scott?

10 Mar

Please refer to me as King Scott.

While I am bemused by the current rage of Americans and the backlash of the GOP over reaching with hidden agendas, I am somewhat despondent that people in Arizona, Maine, Wisconsin, Georgia, Texas, and Florida are surprised with what they got. Were none of you paying attention? Georgia and Florida elected criminals as governors–does not say much for either state. Yes, Floridians are now shocked that Scott is making unilateral decisions without working with the legislature.  Why are you surprised? You elected a man that was forced to resign as CEO from a healthcare organization Columbia/HCA, for systematic fraud including 14 felonies–and you are surprised by how he is governing? Really? I hope you all take some inspiration from the people in Wisconsin.  Here is a small example of how Scott sees his job as a civil servant:

The governor doesn’t understand there is a State Constitution and that we have three branches of government,” said State Senator Mike Fasano, a Republican from New Port Richey who upset Mr. Scott with rough handling of his staff during a testy committee hearing. “They are talking about the attitude that he is still the C.E.O. of his former health care corporation, and that is not going to work in this state, in Tallahassee, in my district. The people believe in three branches of government.

So who earns the Worst Governor Award?  I point you all to a great article from a fellow blogger–click here. I hope the Power of the People will Prevail and we will see a trend of Recalling Politicians that put their needs ahead of the People’s.

Olympian Arrogance…

11 Feb

Olympia Snowe, (R-ME) has displayed such arrogance in the past four years that I have been in awe of her ego.  I can just picture Sisyphus pushing Olympia’s ego up the hill.  Democrats have courted her and kissed her nether regions in order to serve the public good, which she thinks she comes out smelling like a rose. Sorry Olympia, you smell pretty sour to me. Now Ginny’s Tea Party is going after her seat in the Senate. The writing is on the wall, Olympia.  You will lose to the Tea Party candidate locked in a straight jacket, who will lose the general election to the absolutely whacked out Republican candidate.  Congratulations, Olympia. Your ego has now allowed Maine to be an anti-woman, anti-gay, and right wing nut state.  You, Blanche Lincoln, and Uncle Joe Lieberman need to have your own private Tea Party and have a history lesson by Michele Bachmann. Cick here to see the full article.

The Snowe Job Is Melting

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