Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 201
LD 1428 An Act to Protect Religious Freedom is scheduled for a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary on Fri.. According to a Bangor Daily News editorial this morning, the proposed legislation would, "..let people claim their religious beliefs allow them to circumvent rules followed by everyone else while showing little proof that the rules are oppressive."
This type of proposal is not needed in Maine and should be given an unfavorable reception by the Committee.
Nancy G.
user 8856801
Group Organizer
Bar Harbor, ME
Post #: 305
This is when we need a Secular Coalition for Maine. Could someone post a list of the members of that committee? Or we can each find it on the maine.gov website...The Committee on the Judiciary is to whom we should be addressing our concerns/outrage right now, so that the bill doesn't go anywhere.
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 202
Also contact your Sen. and Rep. Joint Standing Committee on

Judiciary

Senator Linda M. Valentino (D-York), Chair

Senator John L. Tuttle, Jr. (D-York)

Senator David C. Burns (R-Washington)

Representative Charles R. Priest (D-Brunswick), Chair

Representative Kimberly J. Monaghan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth)

Representative Jennifer DeChant (D-Bath)

Representative Matthew W. Moonen (D-Portland)

Representative Stephen W. Moriarty (D-Cumberland)

Representative Lisa Renee Villa (D-Harrison)

Representative Jarrod S. Crockett (R-Bethel)*

Representative Michael G. Beaulieu (R-Auburn)

Representative Anita Peavey Haskell (R-Milford)

Representative Stacey K. Guerin (R-Glenburn)

Representative Wayne T. Mitchell (Penobscot Nation)

*Ranking Minority Member

Committee Clerk: Susan Pinette

Policy Analysts: Margaret Reinsch, Susan Johannesman

Fiscal Analyst: Alexandra Avore

Hearing Room: Room 438, State House - phone (207) 287-1327

Chairs' Office: Room 433, State House

Audio Broadcast Page: http://www.maine.gov/...­

Mailing Address:

Committee on Judiciary
c/o Legislative Information
100 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Link to List of Committee Jurisdiction
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 203
LD 1428 An Act to Protect Religious Freedom is scheduled for a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary on Fri.. According to a Bangor Daily News editorial this morning, the proposed legislation would, "..let people claim their religious beliefs allow them to circumvent rules followed by everyone else while showing little proof that the rules are oppressive."
This type of proposal is not needed in Maine and should be given an unfavorable reception by the Committee.

If you haven't yet contacted your state Sen. or Rep. today would be a good time. The hearing is scheduled for today. Got a reply from my Sen. (the sponsor) and he said he was willing to review the proposal to confirm that it was needed.
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 238
The latest update on LD 1428: There will be a public hearing on Thurs. Jan. 16 at 1:00 pm in room 438 in the State House in Augusta. I plan to testify as a rep of the Secular Coalition for America and could use any moral support anyone could provide. I can take 3 people with me if anyone wants to attend but doesn't want to drive. (565-2226).
Nancy G.
user 8856801
Group Organizer
Bar Harbor, ME
Post #: 341
Thank you so much for doing this, Doug!
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 239
Delivered testimony to the committee this PM. Huge crowd and a very long day but I still think the effort is worth it.
Abbie M.
downeastah
Bangor, ME
Post #: 193
I just sent off a letter to the committee as well as Langley and Chapman (my rep.) What a stupid, divisive, unnecessary Trojan horse that could send the state skidding off on a slippery slope. Let's stick a fork in it.
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 241
Well Abbie we're closer to "sticking a fork in it" today. The committee voted against this bill 8-4 yesterday. It still faces votes in the full legislature but sounds like all the groups speaking and writing for our side made a difference.
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 242
Testimony
by Doug Bunker
C0-Chair, Secular Coalition for Maine
In opposition to: LD 1420
An Act to Protect Religious Freedom
Sen. Valentino and members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity
to appear before you today.
My name is Doug Bunker and I am Co-Chair of the Secular Coalition For Maine. We are
a recently formed chapter of the Washington, DC based Secular Coalition for America. Our goal
is to represent the interests of non-theistic Mainers and to strengthen the secular nature of our
government as the best guarantee of freedom for all citizens.
I am here today to speak in opposition to LD 1428, An Act to Protect Religious Freedom.
We oppose this bill not because we in any way oppose protections for religious freedom but
because we believe very strongly that this bill is unnecessary to secure those fieedoms. We are
concerned that the significant changes this bill proposes will almost certainly be used to
circumvent some current laws that now, quite rightly, apply to everyone.
Freedom of religion is an essential component of the legacy of the founding of this
country and one that I, and all secular people support. It could hardly be otherwise because
implicit in a freedom of religion is the equally important right to live free of any religious
affiliations or beliefs. Those necessary protections are fully enshrined in both the United States
(more)and Maine Constitutions and in the Maine Human Rights Act. A variety of religiously based
exemptions to current laws already exist for those who have demonstrated a need. The state has
certainly shown itself willing to accommodate the wishes of the religious community and I am
confident that this or any future legislature will continue to provide those exemptions when
necessary.
We should not, however, compromise the secular nature of our government by
authorizing preferential treatment for the religiously devout at the expense of protecting the
rights all Maine citizens should enjoy. Should LD 1428 become law, it will almost certainly be
used by those claiming a “burden” , to exempt themselves from complying with the laws the rest
of us are expected to follow. We should reject that path as unnecessary, overly broad and
expensive.
The necessity for such a sweeping change has not been demonstrated but I am not
unsympathetic to some of the challenges now facing religious Mainers. Even those of us who are
not religious have family and friends who are. We are familiar with the difficulties some people
face when deeply held beliefs sometimes come into conflict with the workings of civic
government and institutions. In recent years the social landscape here in Maine and nationwide
has begun to change. The diversity of religious and ethnic groups in our communities is
increasing and as many of you know, the growth of the religiously unaffiliated in this state has
contributed to making Maine one of the least religiously observant states in the country. The
process of interacting and cooperating with those who seem so different can be difficult. Sharing
the public square with those who practice other religions or no religion at all, and who are
increasingly willing to assert their constitutional rights can be a challenge but we should be
(more)careful not to view the necessity of accommodating multiple viewpoints and honoring the spirit
of the Constitution as and attack on anyone’s religious freedom.
I am optimistic. I think we Mainers can successfully adapt to these changes and work to
secure the rights we all deserve. It is my hope that this committee will reject LD 1428 and allow
that process to continue.
Thank you This is the testimony I delivered to the committee. Copies of all the material people submitted is on the Maine Legislature web site.
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