Maine Gov. Paul LePage Wants to Make Sex Orientation Discrimination Legal

In a statement, the Governor’s office says he joined the amicus brief to “challenge the ability of an activist judge to re-define a federal law

Hours after he was released from the hospital, Maine Gov. Paul LePage is under fire for asking the United States Supreme Court to make a controversial ruling. LePage signed on to a brief this week requesting the Supreme Court overturn a lower court’s decision, allowing companies to fire employees based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Equality Maine, the state’s LGBT advocacy group, wrote a post on its Facebook page calling LePage “an idiot.”

“We live in strange political times,” said Equality Maine Executive Director Matt Moonen. “Is this really what [the Governor] wants to spend time doing?”

In a statement, the Governor’s office says he joined the amicus brief to “challenge the ability of an activist judge to re-define a federal law.”

The brief argues that a lower court, considering the case of a Michigan funeral home that fired a transgender worker, mistakenly applied protections under the 1964 Civil Rights Act to the case.

The brief states that the 1964 law protects people from discrimination based upon sex — and that the judges misinterpreted the law to apply to gender identity and sexual orientation.

“If the federal government wants to revise its own discrimination laws, that is up to the Congress, not activist judges,” LePage’s statement read.

LePage joins two other GOP Governors and 13 Republican Attorneys General on the brief.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat running to replace LePage as Governor, said his name on the brief is merely symbolic. The Maine Human Rights Act already affords protections based on gender identity and sexuality, she said.

“[Lepage signed on] without legal authority, quite frankly,” she said. “The state of Maine is not a party to that brief. It’s a political statement. He is playing politics with human rights and public policy. Maine law is settled in that area.”

The Supreme Court will decide in the coming months if it should hear the case.

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