The state of Maine made their “Bathroom Bill” a law in 2005 as part of the “Maine Human Rights Act.” Thanks to the results of the November election, the current legislature is attempting to restore privacy and safety for those directly affected by this law. LD 1046, sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Fredette, is written to exempt businesses and institutions from the provisions of the Human Rights Act on the use of bathrooms and shower facilities. In other words, those in charge of public accommodations, primarily schools and businesses, will be able to designate their bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities according to biological gender without the threat of legal action.

Those opposing the bill have made their position clear: “A business of public institution, by virtue of being public, must let patrons choose the door they enter. The alternative is harassment, litigation and hassles that businesses don’t want.” (Bangor Daily News editorial).

Our friends at the Christian Civic League – Maine’s family policy council – are leading the efforts to pass this bill and restore commonsense. There is no doubt that local school administrators and business owners know their patrons and their community’s needs better than the state government. LD 1046 allows administrators and business owners “to be creative problem solvers without the threat of legal action,” and protects the safety, privacy and modesty of the citizens of Maine.

Though receiving an 8-5 negative vote by the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary, the bill now heads for debate and a vote before the full House and Senate.

Massachusetts legislators would be well-served by looking to our northern neighbors and noting that Maine’s passage of a “Bathroom Bill” hasn’t done anything but cause more problems. Legislators are now attempting to undo the damage done in the name of “equality.” MFI will be providing Massachusetts legislators with information about Maine in advance of June’s hearing on our “Bathroom Bill.”