AUGUSTA — Maine will never again return to the days when discrimination against LGBT Mainers was permitted under the law, said the Maine Senate Democrats on Thursday.

Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus denounced an effort led by fringe extremist Michael Heath, who has embarked on a petition drive to place a citizen initiative on the ballot that would remove hard-won protections from discrimination for LGBT Mainers.

“Our state has a proud history of leading the fight for equality for all,” said Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, speaking on behalf of the entire caucus.* “We will oppose any effort to turn back the clock to the old days, when Mainers could be fired from a job, denied housing, or kicked out of the diner simply because of who they are.”

In 2005, voters added LGBT Mainers as a protected class in the Maine Human Rights Act, granting them protection from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and credit.

Heath, a longtime enemy of equality, fought the 2005 changes to the Maine Human Rights Act and marriage equality referendum approved by voters in 2012.

* Every member of the Maine Senate Democrats has signed on to the above statement. They are:

  • Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland
  • Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill, D-York
  • Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth
  • Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford
  • Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham
  • Sen. Jim Dill, D-Orono
  • Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick
  • Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor
  • Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland
  • Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville
  • Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston
  • Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth
  • Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden
  • Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford
  • Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco