Maine conservatives admit removing LGBT protections is the first step to making homosexuality a crime again
A right-wing Christian activist group is pushing a ballot measure that would strip LGBT protections from the voter-approved Maine Human Rights Act — but they actually have another goal in mind.
Michael Heath, former head of the Christian Civic League of Maine, is promoting an initiative to remove “sexual orientation” from the measure passed 11 years ago by voters, but he admits his true aim is to legally ban homosexuality, reported WGME-TV.
“There is conduct that ought to be punished, and Christianity teaches, has always taught and still does teach, that sodomy is such a behavior,” Heath said.
Heath has formed a new group, “Equal Rights, Not Special Rights,” to collect signatures in hopes of removing LGBT protections from state law.
“If it’s removed, what does it do?” Heath said. “It very simply moves something, a behavior that belongs in the closet back into the closet.”
If they’re successful, Heath and other anti-LGBT activists hope to impose legal bans on homosexual behavior.
“There’s an open expression of homosexuality and sexual expression that is totally out of line for a country as great as the United States of America,” said Paul Madore, an activist who described his disgust at seeing a U.S. serviceman express his affection for a same-sex partner.
The executive director of EqualityMaine said the group’s efforts were troubling — but ultimately a waste of time.
“They think they can force people to accept their world view,” said civil rights activist Matt Moonen said. “That’s just not what America is, not what the State of Maine is — and it’s not going to work.”
If the group collects enough signatures, the issue could be placed before voters next year.
Heath’s former group, the Christian Civic League, spoke out against legal abortion and transgender health services.
But their efforts sometimes backfired.
The group circulated an email claiming prayer had drastically cut donations to Maine Family Planning — but nearly 1,500 contributors gave at least $60,000 to the women’s health clinic after sex columnist Dan Savage publicized a blog post about the issue by writer and activist Mike Tipping.
Heath’s former lieutenant, Michael Hein, was arrested last year for kicking a puppy on a running trail.
Hein, who was fired in 2010 by the group’s current director, lost a statehouse run in 2012 after pleading guilty to falsifying Clean Election contributions and spending seven days in jail.
Watch this video report posted online by WGME-TV: