'Understanding overcame fear and fairness overcame discrimination in Maine,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. 'We have been enormously proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with statewide leaders in this fight, since day one through today's victory.'
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign celebrated today's vote by Maine citizens ensuring protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. To help defeat today's ballot initiative that would have repealed the state non-discrimination law, HRC provided a large amount of on-the-ground staff, significant fundraising assistance, media assistance, strategic assistance, volunteer recruitment and more than $150,000 this year alone in financial contributions to Maine Won't Discriminate, including financing their field efforts, early polling and seed money for early staffing.
"Understanding overcame fear and fairness overcame discrimination in Maine," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We have been enormously proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with statewide leaders in this fight, since day one through today's victory. Winning these campaigns has always been about strengthening the foundation of understanding. We're so proud to have played such a big role in laying that groundwork. Mainers today sent a strong signal that discrimination has no place in their state. We congratulate the voters, volunteers and hard-working team at Maine Won't Discriminate for this victory."
"The Human Rights Campaign was an essential partner in this fight from day one. The Human Rights Campaign's early and substantial support was the key to making this victory possible tonight," said Jesse Connolly, campaign manager for Maine Won't Discriminate.
"Education has always been a long-term effort and this vote shows that the longer the conversation can happen, the better off fairness will be in the end. Mainers have been building understanding for years now and today is the culmination of those conversations."
HRC has been working with Maine Won't Discriminate since the first time this repeal made the ballots. This year, HRC provided more than $150,000 this year alone to defeat the referendum and significant staff resources. By Election Day, more than 25 HRC staff members had traveled to Maine to work directly with the campaign.
The sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive non-discrimination bill passed both houses of the Maine Legislature in March 2005 with strong bipartisan margins and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci. This was the third attempt to repeal the measure and the first time voters approved the law.
Maine becomes the final New England state and the 16th state overall to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and the sixth state to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity. View a map of these states.
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.
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