Laws

United States of America

MAINE

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Civil Unions
  Custody of Children
Discrimination
Estates, Wills
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
  Health, Medical
HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Inheritance, Succession
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Parenting
Partners
  Privacy
Property
Sodomy
Surrogacy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation
Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [PARENTING]
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 03 May 2012, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous ruling in Nolan v. LaBree, 2012 ME 61, holding that the Maine District Court has jurisdiction to make a declaration of maternity in a gestational surrogacy case [C1.2], [R1.1].

C1.2 Maine Supreme Judicial Court: Robert Nolan et al v. Kristen LaBree et al 2012 ME 61 PDF 95.58kb, 03 MAY 12
R1.1 Leonard Link: Maine SJC Rules in Gestational Surrogate Case 07 MAY 12
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In July 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court justices ruled that a gay woman who was "committed" to her ex-partner's biological child was entitled to full parental rights as a "de facto parent", even though she was no longer involved with the boy's biological mother [R1.1].

The Court held that "adults who have fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed and responsible parental role in the child's life" can in some cases be recognized as legal parents, regardless of their sexual orientation or family relationship ... and their role in raising children can last, even if the adults' relationship ends [R1.1].

R1.1 Associated Press: Gay Woman is Awarded Parental Rights to Ex-partner's Child 07 APR 04
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [ESTATES] [MARRIAGE]
1.

State

In April 2004, a new law taking effect 90 days after the signing (on 27 July 2004), extended domestic-partnership rights to gay and non-gay couples who live together in a long-term arrangement. It also gave domestic partners the same inheritance rights as a spouse when a married partner dies without a will [R1.5].

Registered couples' partnerships cannot be terminated without the consent of both parties. Domestic partners also have priority for appointment as personal representatives, guardians, or conservators for an estate or custodian of the remains of a deceased partner [R1.5].

Previously:

In April 2004, the House of Representatives voted to expand a bill giving domestic partners certain rights to include a domestic partner registry [R1.4].

A similar bill had already passed the Senate. Both bills were "rationalized" into one piece of legislation and approved by both houses [R1.4].

In June 2002, a state law required health insurance companies to offer benefits to domestic partners if they offer them to married couples [R1.3].

In July 2001, all state and University of Maine employees had domestic partner benefits and stood to lose those benefits if voters adopt the referendum proposal [R1.2].

In March 2001, the House voted to let stand without further scrutiny a state policy extending health-insurance benefits to same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners of state workers [R1.1].

2.

Cities & Towns

On 20 June 2001 Maine's first domestic partners registry came into effect for gay and unmarried heterosexual partners over 18, jointly residing in the city of Portland [R2.5].

Partners must not be related by blood to a degree that would prevent them from marrying in Maine. Also ineligible are people with mental illness or mental retardation who lack the capacity to make responsible decisions.

The filing fee is $20 or if a more formal signing ceremony if requested, $50.

In addition to gaining visitation rights and access to students and school records, partners also could get employment benefits by registering.

Either partner can terminate the partnership, but they must have been separated for at least 14 days. The partner seeking the termination must mail, by certified mail, a copy of the notice to the other partner before filing a notice with the city clerk.

Portland local law, requires organizations that get federal housing and community development funding through the city to provide health and employment benefits to the domestic partners of their employees [R2.4].

In May 2001, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a measure to recognize same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners as families [R2.3].

In March 2001, two city councillors in Portland planned to propose an ordinance that would create a registry for same-sex couples and redefine the cityís definition of family to include those who register [R2.2].

Workers in some other municipalities also currently have domestic partner benefits [R2.1].

R1.5 The Advocate: Maine Governor Signs DP Bill Into Law 30 APR 04
R1.4 365gay.com: Gay Domestic Partner Registry Approved In Maine 11 APR 04
R1.3 Portland Press Herald: Salvation Army Loses Vote on Exemption 04 JUN 02
R1.2 Bangor News: Partners' Coverage Under Fire 28 JUL 01
R1.1 The Advocate: Maine House Lets Domestic-partner Policy Stand 17-19 MAR 01
The Advocate: Maine Offers DP Benefits to State Employees 10-12 MAR 01
R2.5 Portland Press Herald: City Starts Registry for Domestic Partners 20 JUN 01
R2.4 Portland Press Herald: Agency Defies Domestic Partners Law 26 APR 02
R2.3 Associated Press: Portland City Council Passes Domestic Partner Ordinance 22 MAY 01
R2.2 The Advocate: Maine Politicians Propose Same-sex Registry 03-05 MAR 01
R2.1 Bangor News: Partners' Coverage Under Fire 28 JUL 01
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

In December 2005, Maine became the last New England state to legally protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination (in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, and education) as a law that voters refused to repeal last month went on the books. The law took effect without fanfare [R1.4].

Previously:

Maine state law prohibited discrimination based on age, disability, gender, race or religion but NOT sexual orientation [R1.3].


In October 2000, Attorney General Andrew Ketterer said that under current state law gays and lesbians are not protected from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations [R1.3].

In April 2000, the Maine Senate gave final approval to a referendum bill and a November statewide vote on anti-discrimination protections for homosexuals [R1.2].

In 1997, Maine enacted a statute that was repealed by ballot referendum in 1998. A second statute enacted in 2000 provided it would not take effect unless endorsed by a majority of those voting in the stateís general elections; Maine voters defeated that initiative on 07 November 2000 [R1.1].

Maine was the then sole New England state that did not outlaw employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2.

Cities & Towns

In November 2002, a referendum to reverse the Westbrook decision was defeated by a slim margin [R2.5].

In July 2002, Westbrook City Council approved a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, credit and access to public accommodations [R2.4], with exceptions in the area of housing for owner-occupied apartments of four units or less and for certain room rentals in a one-family owner-occupied home and religious organizations.

As at July 2002, 12 cities and towns in the state had ordinances protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. The communities are Bangor, Bar Harbor, Brunswick, Camden, Castine, Falmouth, Long Island, Orono, Portland, Sorrento, South Portland and Westbrook [R2.4].

In September 2001, the Bangor City Council approved a gay rights ordinance similar to one rejected in November 2000 by Maine voters and prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of housing, employment, education, credit applications and public accommodations but exempting religious organizations [R2.3].

As at August 2001, it was legal for people to be fired from their jobs based on their sexual orientation, except in a handful of other municipalities in Maine and Portland [R2.2].

In April 1998, Bar Harbor became the first town council in Maine to extend antidiscrimination protection to gay men and lesbians since the state's Human Rights Act was repealed [R2.1].

3.

Courts & Tribunals

On 06 December 2011, ruling unanimously in Russell v. ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., 2011 ME 123, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed an award of $500,000 damages to Edward Russell, a jury having found that he had been the victim of employment discrimination based on his sexual orientation in violation of the state's Human Rights Act [C3.2], [R3.1].

R1.4 The Advocate: Maine's Delayed Gay Rights Law Takes Effect 29 DEC 05
R1.3 The Advocate: Maine Attorney General Says Gays Not Protected Under Law 18 OCT 00
R1.2 Associated Press: Gay Rights Referendum Bill Receives Final Passage 06 APR 00
R1.1 United States General Account Office: Sexual-Orientation-based Employment Discrimination: State and Federal Status 19 APR 02 page 2 footnote 3
Brother Sister: American State Axes Rights 19 FEB 98
R2.5 Associated Press: Aside from Nevada, Gay Causes Fare Well in Election 06 NOV 02
R2.4 Portland Press Herald: Westbrook votes to ban discrimination 30 JUL 02
R2.3 Bangor Daily News: Council OKs Gay Rights Ordinance 25 SEP 01
R2.2 Portland Press Herald: Bill to Protect Gay Rights in Employment 01 AUG 01
R2.1 The Advocate: Maine Town Extends Protections to Gays 23 APR 98
C3.2 State of Maine Judicial Branch: Edward Russell v. ExpressJet Airlines Inc 2011 ME 123, PDF 132.21kb, 06 DEC 11
R3.1 The Advocate: Maine High Court Upholds Antigay Discrimination Claim Against ExpressJet 22 DEC 11

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Estates, Inheritance, Property, Succession, Wills Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

In April 2004, a new law, taking effect 90 days after the signing (on 27 July 2004), gave domestic partners the same inheritance rights as a spouse when a married partner dies without a Will [R1.1].

R1.1 The Advocate: Maine Governor Signs DP Bill Into Law 30 APR 04
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

On 06 July 2018, Republican Governor Paul LePage vetoed legislation LD912 that would forbid people from ''advertis[ing], offer[ing] or administer[ing] conversion therapy to individuals under 18 years of age'', with ''conversion therapy'' defined as ''practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity''. It contained an exception for clergy, but threatened to suspend or revoke the licenses of medical professionals, school guidance counselors, or school psychologists [R1.2].

In 2005, discrimination in employment based on gender identity became unlawful [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 25 November 2015, Penobscot County Superior Court awarded m2f transgender Nicole Maines $75K in settlement of her claim against the Orono School District and ordered that the district be prohibited from "refusing access by transgender students to school restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity". The case was remanded from the Supreme Judicial Court 30 January ruling " … for further proceedings consistent with this opinion" (below) [R2.5].

On 30 January 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court, ruled 5-1 that the school district's actions requiring a MtF transgender 5th grader Nicole Maines to use a staff bathroom instead of the girls' restroom, violated the Maine Human Rights Act, a state law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 20 November 2012, Superior Court Judge William Anderson ruled that the Regional School Unit 26 was not in breach of the Human Rights Act – by discriminating in education or public accomodation – in not allowing a transgender girl to use the restroom of her choice at her school [C2.2], [R2.1]. The decision is to be appealed.

R1.2 LifeSite: Maine governor vetoes ban on therapy for unwanted gay attraction, gender confusion 09 JUL 18
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, 14 MAY 08
R2.5 AP: District ordered to pay transgender student $75K 02 DEC 14
C2.4 Opinion: John Doe et al v Regional School Unit 26 2014 ME 11, 30 JAN 14
R2.3 EdgeOnTheNet: Court: Transgender Studentís Rights Were Violated 30 JAN 14
C2.2 Decision and Order on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment: John Doe and Jane Doe as parents and next friend of Susan Doe and Maine Human Rights Commission v. Kelly Clency et al Docket No. CV-09-201 WRA PDF 1.32MB, 20 NOV 12
R2.1 The Advocate: Maine Judge: No Unlawful Discrimination in Transgender Girl's Case 24 NOV 12
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [DISCRIMINATION] [VIOLENCE]
1.

State

In 1995, hate crimes based on sexual orientation became considered an aggravating circumstance [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, 14 MAY 08
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [GENDER IDENTITY]
1.

State

On 06 July 2018, Republican Governor Paul LePage vetoed legislation LD912 that would forbid people from ''advertis[ing], offer[ing] or administer[ing] conversion therapy to individuals under 18 years of age'', with ''conversion therapy'' defined as ''practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity''. It contained an exception for clergy, but threatened to suspend or revoke the licenses of medical professionals, school guidance counselors, or school psychologists [R1.1].

R1.1 LifeSite: Maine governor vetoes ban on therapy for unwanted gay attraction, gender confusion 09 JUL 18
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: Annual Report - Part II 1996
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

On 29 November 2012, Governor Paul LePage signed off on the certified voter referendum results and the marriage equality law takes effect on 29 December, 30 days from that date [R1.10].

On 06 November 2012, a majority of voters345,134 (52.89%) voted yes to Question 1, and 307,468 (47.11%) voted no to Question 1 (Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?) [R1.9].

On 26 January 2012, a coalition of LGBT groups led by EqualityMaine and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders said more than 105,000 signatures had been collected from Maine voters – nearly double the amount needed to qualify for a ballot measure later this year aimed at striking down a referendum passed by voters in 2009 [R1.8].

On 03 November 2009, the campaign to overturn Maine's gay marriage law won with 53 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent opposed, according to unofficial results [R1.7].

On 08 July 2009, Stand for Marriage Maine said that it had gathered 55,087 signatures to put the legalization of same-sex marriage on the November ballot. The secretary of state still must certify the signatures before a referendum is placed on the ballot [R1.6].

On 06 May 2009, Governor John E. Baldacci signed legislation to enact marriage equality for the fourth state in New England. There was still the threat of a "people's veto" if the required 55,087 signatures were collected within 90 days of June 17. Otherwise, same-sex marriage licenses could begin to be issued after the 90th day [R1.5].

In May 2009, the lower house of Maine's legislature voted in favour of the state allowing gay marriages, the Senate having previously approved the Bill [R1.4].

However, same-sex marriage opponents in the state filed a 'people's veto' challenge to the new law. To get the bill on the ballot in November, they had 90 days to collect 55,000 signatures opposing gay marriage [R1.3].


In April 2009, the public were invited to a hearing at the Augusta Civic Centre to discuss the legalisation of same-sex marriage [R1.2].


In April 1997, Governor Angus King said he would not veto a State ban on same-sex marriages despite his opposition to the bill [R1.1].

In 1997 the law in Maine was amended to prohibit marriages between same-sex couples.

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 30 May 2013, Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a ruling by the Kennebec County Superior Court that the National Organization for Marriage cannot withhold the names of donors to its 2009 effort to repeal a marriage equality law in Maine [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.10 The Advocate: Maine Marriage Equality Law to Take Effect December 29 03 DEC
R1.9 BallotPedia: Maine Same-Sex Marriage Question, Question 1 (2012) (Accessed 09 NOV 12
R1.8 GayStarNews: State of Maine to vote on gay marriage? 26 JAN 12
R1.7 The Advocate: Gay Marriage Battle Lost in Maine 03 NOV 09
R1.6 The Advocate: 55K Signatures Against Maine Marriage08 JUL 09
R1.5 The Advocate: Maine Gov. Signs Marriage Bill: Voter Ballot Threat Looms 06 MAY 09
R1.4 PinkNews.co.uk: Maine House of Representatives votes in favour of gay marriage 05 MAY 09
R1.3 PinkNews.co.uk: Opponents file challenge to gay marriage in Maine 08 MAY 09
R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Maine hears arguments on gay marriage 24 APR 09
R1.1 Sydney Star Observer: Maine Same-Sex Marriage 03 APR 97
C2.2 Judgment: National Organization for Marriage v. Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices 2013 ME 52 PDF 98.88kb, 30 MAY 13
R2.1 The Advocate: Maine High Court: NOM Must Disclose Donors 31 MAY 13
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 03 May 2012, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous ruling in Nolan v. LaBree, 2012 ME 61, holding that the Maine District Court has jurisdiction to make a declaration of maternity in a gestational surrogacy case [C1.4], [R1.3].

In April 2004, a Supreme Judicial Court ruling said a gay woman from Freeport who was "committed" to her ex-partner's biological child is entitled to full parental rights [R1.2].


In November 2003, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion that is thought to make it easier for same-sex couples to share full legal status as parents [R1.1].

The court said that when considering whether any two people should be made co-guardians of a child, probate judges should look only at what is in the best interests of the child [R1.1].

C1.4 Maine Supreme Judicial Court: Robert Nolan et al v. Kristen LaBree et al 2012 ME 61 PDF 95.58kb, 03 MAY 12
R1.3 Leonard Link: Maine SJC Rules in Gestational Surrogate Case 07 MAY 12
R1.2 Associated Press: Gay Woman is Awarded Parental Rights to Ex-partner's Child 07 APR 04
R1.1 Portland Press-Herald: Ruling Seen as Boost to Same-sex Parenting 05 NOV 03
Personal Safety, Privacy, Safety Online Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 30 May 2013, Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a ruling by the Kennebec County Superior Court that the National Organization for Marriage cannot withhold the names of donors to its 2009 effort to repeal a marriage equality law in Maine [C2.2], [R2.1].

C2.2 Judgment: National Organization for Marriage v. Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices 2013 ME 52 PDF 98.88kb, 30 MAY 13
R2.1 The Advocate: Maine High Court: NOM Must Disclose Donors 31 MAY 13
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Indecent Exposure, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 05 October 2017, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court found that whilst Andrew Legassie (then in his early 20s) had sent, to five girls aged 14 to 17, ''explicit digital images'' of himself exposing his genitals, ''There is no evidence of any in-person contact that formed the basis of the alleged crimes''. He was prosecuted, among other things, for ''indecent conduct'' [C1.4], [R1.3]. Cf Indiana: Indiana Supreme Court Opinion: State of Indiana v. Sameer Girish Thakar No. 29S02-1705-CR-284 PDF 55.55kb 02 OCT 17

On 23 January 2012, in a 3–1 vote, the Maine Human Rights Commission determined that Sproul Block Apartments landlord Realty Resources Management knew or should have known about the sexual orientation harassment of a gay couple Joseph Bonnadio II and William Paquet living there and failed to take any corrective action, resulting in unlawful discrimination. If the parties cannot reconcile and reach a settlement, the complainant may file a civil lawsuit in Maine Superior Court, where a binding settlement can include monetary damages [R1.2].


In May 2001, the Maine Human Rights Commission supported a complainant who alleged age and sex discrimination. Maine law did not then protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation [R1.1].

C1.4 Opinion: State of Maine v. Andrew J Legassie No. 2017 ME 202 PDF 154.90kb 05 OCT 15
R1.3 TheWashingtonPost: Sending nude selfies doesnít qualify as 'indecent exposure', says Maine high court 05 OCT 17
R1.2 Bangor Daily News: Maine rights panel finds landlord did not do enough to correct harassment of gay tenants 23 JAN 12
R1.1 Associated Press: Commission Sides With Gay Man Who Alleges Sex Discrimination 15 MAY 01

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