Does Maine have an anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination?

Yes. On November 8, 2005, Maine voters agreed to keep in place a law, LD 1196, “An Act to Extend Civil Rights Protections to All People Regardless of Sexual Orientation”, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in the spring of 2005. The law went into effect December 28, 2005.

This marks the end of a long struggle in Maine to achieve legal protections for LGBTQ+ people. In November 1995, Maine voters rejected an attempt to limit the protected classes to those already included within the non-discrimination law. In May 1997, Maine approved an anti-discrimination law based on sexual orientation, but this law was repealed in a special election in February 1998. Then in November 2000, by the smallest of margins, Maine voters failed to ratify a second anti-discrimination law that had been approved by the legislature.

The law provides protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation which is defined as “… a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression” (5 Me. Rev. Stat. sec. 4553 (9-C)).

Does it also protect people perceived of as LGBTQ+?

Yes. The non-discrimination law specifically covers people who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

What kinds of discrimination does the anti-discrimination law address?

The Maine law prohibits discrimination in:

  • Employment
  • Public Accommodations
  • Housing
  • Credit and
  • Education (5 Me. Rev. Stat. sec. 4552 et seq.)

Are there other non-discrimination protections available in Maine?

Yes. Several cities and towns have enacted non-discrimination ordinances, including Portland, Falmouth, South Portland, Long Island, Orono, Sorrento, Westbrook and Bar Harbor. In Clarke v. Olsten Certified Healthcare Corp., the Maine Law Court assumed without so stating that the Portland ordinance is enforceable (714 A.2d 823 (Me. 1998)).

Guardianship and Conservatorship

You are entitled to be represented by a lawyer in guardianship (care of your person) or conservatorship (care of your financial matters) cases. If you cannot afford one, Maine should provide one for you.

You have a right to notice of any guardianship or conservatorship proceedings involving yourself.

Even if you are under guardianship, you still have freedom of religion and the right to maintain your religious practice.

Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) now recognizes marriages of same-sex couples for Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amounts for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. In Maine, registered domestic partners are entitled to the same benefits as spouses

Health Care Proxy

You can designate who you want to make your financial decisions in case you are unable to make them. This is called a healthcare proxy.

Power of Attorney

You can designate who you want to make your financial decisions in case you are unable to make them. This is called a power of attorney.