Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 6.10.40 PMSpring Issue 2019

By Ramona du Houx

Governor Janet Mills appeared before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee during a public hearing recently to testify in support of legislation to amend the Constitution of Maine to prevent discrimination based on an individual’s sex.

“While our state and our nation unquestionably have made great progress in effectuating equal rights for women and men, that change has been piecemeal, intermittent and impermanent,” said Governor Mills. “While I will not have the privilege of signing the bill, it being a constitutional resolve, I cannot wait to accompany the five adult women whom I proudly call my daughters, and my two little granddaughters, to the polls to cast my vote so that they, and their uncles, cousins and friends will be fully protected in our most sacred document and have the equal opportunity under the law that we have come to expect and demand.”

LD 433 “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on the Sex of an Individual” sponsored by Representative Lois Reckitt of South Portland would establish an amendment to the Maine Constitution to prohibit the denial or abridgment of civil rights based on an individual’s sex.

“I was thrilled to testify as a cosponsor in favor of a constitutional amendment to explicitly prohibit sex discrimination in Maine,” said Representative Maggie O’Neil. “When Rep. Reckitt first submitted this legislation last session, I was shocked to learn that our state’s constitution didn’t include an equal rights amendment. It’s long overdue – both for the people who began this work and for girls who are growing up in a society shaped by our leadership.” (photo below)

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Two thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to approve the legislation for it to be sent to Maine voters, who would decide on final ratification in a statewide vote during the month of November by voting “yes” or “no” on the following question:

“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to prohibit the denial or abridgment by the State or any political subdivision of the State of equal rights based on the sex of an individual?”

If a majority of Mainers vote in favor of ratification, the amendment will become part of the Constitution of the State of Maine.

The Judiciary Committee will continue to review the legislation before it is considered by the full Legislature.