Don’t let threats stop critical work and care for our communities

Our community and publicly elected allies are experiencing escalating threats and even violence as LGBTQ+ people are increasingly the subject of politicized, misleading rhetoric and punitive laws. Last Friday, International Women’s Day, this reached a despicable and unacceptable level in Maine. 

In the wake of a virulent disinformation campaign by local and national anti-LGBTQ activists, opponents of LD 227 – a bill to protect Maine health care practitioners who provide legal patient care for transgender people and people seeking reproductive care – made bomb threats at the State and the personal homes of lawmakers. These threats sparked fear and disrupted the work of legislators, non-partisan staff, and Legislative Committees. 

Thankfully, no bomb was found at the State House or in the homes of the legislators who sponsored LD 227. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the work of the legislature was only delayed by a few hours. 

But the message, and the attempt to influence policy through intimidation, were clear: if you cannot win on the merits – win through fear. 

We remain incredibly grateful to the legislators who continue their important work for all people of Maine on the many vital issues impacting them, and who now must do so in the face of these threats.  

So we want to send a different message. A message of gratitude and strength. Of acknowledgment and partnership with legislators committed to making a positive difference for our State.

If you live in Maine, please email the members of the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services as well as House and Senate leadership today to thank them for their work and ask them to move LD 227 forward this session.

To be clear, LD 227 is a straightforward bill. It seeks to protect Maine health care workers who provide essential, legal-in-Maine reproductive health care and transgender health care grounded in standards of care. It recognizes the very real efforts of actors outside of Maine to impose the hostile laws of other states against providers and patients in Maine. There are already 17 other states plus D.C. that have enacted shield laws for these same reasons.

We can’t allow violent rhetoric and threats to stop the important work of our legislature and of protecting our communities. We need our legislators and the public to know that we hold true to our values around caring for all people. 

An essential component of that work is protecting those who provide essential, legal reproductive and transgender health care as proposed in LD 227.

There are many vital policy issues pending before the legislature this session that will make Maine safer, fairer, and more just for all people up and down our state.   

One area of pressing need is increased statewide access to community-based mental and behavioral health care, as well as supports and services for substance use and addiction. These include:

  • LD 2237 – An Act to Strengthen Public Safety, Health and Well-being by Expanding Services and Coordinating Violence Prevention Resources  
  • LD 1305 – Resolve, to Design and Implement a Community-based Model of Care for Adolescent Mental Health
  • LD 2002 – An Act to Provide Incentives to Schools That Contract for Certain Social Work and Family Therapy Services
  • LD 1178 – Resolve, to Reduce Barriers to Recovery from Addiction by Expanding Eligibility for Targeted Case Management Services
  • LD 2136 – An Act to Provide Financial Support for Shelters for Unhoused Individuals (with accompanying changes in the State Supplemental Budget)
  • LD 2214 – Which provides essential funding for Maine’s low barrier shelters. 
  • LD 1779 – An Act to Develop a Continuum of Care for Youth Involved in the Justice System [proposed amendment to prevent justice involvement by law enforcement diversion to assessment rather than arrest, where appropriate] 

Another is passing legislation to improve Maine’s gun safety laws, both in light of the mass shooting in Lewiston, as well as our rates of suicide by gun and domestic violence homicides involving firearms:

  • LD 2237 – An Act to Strengthen Public Safety, Health and Well-being by Expanding Services and Coordinating Violence Prevention Resources  
  • LD 2224 An Act to Strengthen Public Safety by Improving Maine’s Firearm Laws and Mental Health System  
  • LD 2238An Act to Address Gun Violence in Maine by Requiring a Waiting Period for Certain Firearm Purchases  

Other vital proposals would protect the right to sovereignty and self-determination of Wabanaki nations, bring to reality the commitment to teaching African American and Wabanaki History, establish a statewide data collection system, and protect the constitutional rights of defendants to legal representation.

  • LD 2007– An Act to Advance Self-determination for Wabanaki Nations
  • LD 2001 – Resolve, to Establish the African American and Wabanaki Studies Advisory Council and Provide Funding to Support African American Studies and Wabanaki Studies – to establish an advisory council with funding for content expertise and developing curricula and training)
  • LD 1948An Act to Amend the State’s Data Governance Program – to develop a statewide governance plan for Maine with definitions for standards and definitions for a range of demographic characteristics, in collaboration with Secretary of State and Permanent Comm’n on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Tribal Populations, and stakeholder consultation
  • LD 2214, Part WW – An Act to Make Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations [in the State Budget] for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025 – (to support adequate funding for Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services)

GLAD supports the passage of all of these bills, and we are proud to collaborate with so many partners in Maine, including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England on LD 227. We need action on LD 227 NOW to keep it moving forward despite the use of intimidation to defeat it, and we need to add our voices to support for other bills that are vital to keeping Maine a welcoming and safe place for all. Your calls and emails to legislators matter enormously.

Please email the members of the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services (HCIFS) as well as House and Senate leadership to thank them for their work and to ask them to advance LD 227 and these other important bills in this session.

Thank you for taking action and thank you for all you do to ensure LGBTQ+ people, and all people, can be healthy, happy, and safe.