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Maine Democrats bail on bill making state sanctuary for trans people amid far-right uproar

Author: Christopher Wiggins

In Maine, a bill seeking security for those seeking gender-affirming care became a lightning rod online before lawmakers from both sides of the aisle abandoned the measure.

The bill had been a top priority for transgender rights advocates this session, viewed as an extension of last year’s legislative progress that allowed 16- and 17-year-olds in Maine to access gender-affirming care without parental consent or notification, in line with Maine’s laws on abortion and contraception for minors.

Related: Maine’s transgender health care bill sparks right-wing meltdown over phantom kidnappings

However, significant opposition emerged, particularly from Republican lawmakers, according to reports.

The debate over the bill was seemingly influenced by a social media campaign led by Chaya Raichik, the Libs of TikTok account operator. On January 16, Raichik galvanized her 2.8 million followers to take action against the proposed legislation. Then, on Wednesday, she wrote another appeal.

“BREAKING: Maine legislature to vote tomorrow on the trans minor sanctuary bill. After public backlash the vote was postponed to January 25th which is tomorrow. Make sure to email all the state legislators TODAY. Their emails are in the below tweet,” Libs of TikTok urged, listing lawmaker email addresses.

Following this call to action, the Judiciary Committee unanimously voted 12-0, with one member absent, to stop the bill’s progression after a brief deliberation period.

The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Democrats Sen. Anne Carney and Rep. Matt Moonen, unanimously voted down the bill, crossing party lines in a rare show of unanimity. Democrats, who had previously supported the bill, cited the inclusion of unnecessary language as a primary reason for their change in stance.

Republicans argued that LD 1735, in its current form, could promote child trafficking (one of the online conspiracy theories spread by conservative influencers) and undermine parental rights. Among its provisions, the bill aimed to prevent the enforcement of orders from other states that might authorize the removal of a child from their parent or guardian for receiving gender-affirming health care or mental health care.

The Advocate contacted Osher for comment but did not receive a response.

The committee’s unanimous rejection of LD 1735 is a significant blow to gender-affirming care providers and advocates for transgender rights in Maine.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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