Press Room

April 27, 2004

Category: Domestic Partners

Maine’s Domestic Partner Bill a Step Toward Equality, HRC Says

'The people of Maine are a step closer to full equality,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Maine Legislature took a step toward equality Tuesday by passing a domestic partnership registry bill. The measure (L.D. 1579) will provide inheritance rights, next-of-kin status, victim's compensation, and guardian and conservator rights to domestic partners. Gov. John Baldacci is expected to sign the measure shortly.

"The people of Maine are a step closer to full equality," said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. "More than 6,000 Mainers now have access to important legal protections in the event that their same-sex partner dies. While states like Virginia and Oklahoma recently passed anti-family bills, Maine is moving forward toward giving every family equal rights and responsibilities."

This measure passed the House on April 12 with an 84 to 58 vote and the Senate on April 27, with an 18 to 14 vote. If the governor signs the bill, Maine will become the fifth state to pass statewide laws that provide rights to unmarried couples (for a map, visit Relationship Recognition in the U.S.).

"The Senate's enactment vote on this bill reaffirms what we believe is the responsibility of our elected officials in Augusta - to ensure that all Maine citizens are treated fairly and equally under the law," said Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine (formerly Maine Lesbian Gay Political Alliance).

HRC supported Equality Maine extensively to secure this victory, including: help on drafting the measure and its amendments, legislative analysis, e-mail Action Alerts to supporters in Maine, advice on political strategy, lobby trainings and $15,500 in Equality Fund grants during the last four years.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.