Tag Archives: maine

Three Republican Fails of the Week (2016-02-08)

EpicRepublicansFail
Hatred of transgender persons is not an explicit plank in the Republican Party platform (I checked), but it seems to be as implicit as the fact that these people live and breathe. Very recently there have been three major political fails by Republicans, unfortunately with transgender persons being the ones who bear the brunt of the failures.

indiana-senate-president-david-long
Let’s begin with the classic Legislative Fail, from the state of Indiana, where an LGBT civil rights bill has died in the Indiana senate. This death has had Democrats crying foul, as the bill was a compromise bill which threw transgender people under the bus like so much political road salt with the promise that then and only then, would it be acceptable to Republicans. The bill also contained sweeping exemptions for any situation or location even remotely considered to be religious, although mercifully the words “all of creation (praise be to God!)” were omitted from the bill.

(Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long)…told reporters the bill as written could not pass because it did not have enough support from Republican lawmakers, who hold the majority in both houses of the legislature, so there was no point in debating it. He promised that lawmakers would take another pass at civil rights legislation for LGBT citizens next year.

While groups like the Human Rights Campaign condemned the bill as “dangerous” and “shameful” because of its limited scope and religious exemptions, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Gov. Mike Pence, both Republicans, reportedly said it went too far in granting LGBT protections. Long said that also factored into his decision to kill the bill. He blamed both supporters and opponents equally for their unwillingness to compromise.

It also has led to rumors that the Human Rights Campaign initially gave backing to the compromise legislation which omitted transgender rights, although I cannot find hard evidence of that.

MaineLePage

Next we have the Failure of Morality and Ethics, for which we can turn to known anti-transgender hobgoblin Paul LePage. LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, is someone we’ve highlighted before when he tried to weigh in legally on where a Virginia transgender boy peed (the esteemed gentleman being somehow unaware of the fact that he does not hold a legal position in that other state, nor any actual compelling interest in where any boy pees anywhere, unless it’s on his prized deadly nightshade garden at his estate…) LePage, possibly inspired by the vision of Pat Buchanan in a slice of Wonder Bread, has stopped the Maine Department of Education and Human Rights Commission from issuing legally binding rules that would guarantee transgender students equal access. Rather, schools statewide will be encouraged to abide by “guidelines” about how to treat transgender students, issued by the Human Rights Commission last month, but will not face penalties for failing to comply with these suggestions.

This flies in the face of a ruling by the Maine Supreme Court in the case of Nicole Maines, a transgender student who was denied access to the girls’ bathroom (after years of using that facility without incident) at her elementary school. Students of course can pursue a Title IX Federal claim…unless of course a Republican is elected President just 9 short months from now. Unfortunately, the response by Democrats has been limited greatly, due to their minority position in the seats of power of that state.

“The governor is violating the law by refusing to let the rule-making go forward,” Rep. Matthea Daughtry, a Democrat representing Brunswick, told the AP. “He’s putting our students at risk.”

SouthDakotaSenatorDavidOmdahl
Finally, we come to a Failure by Simply Being Stupid or Evil. The best example of this in action is
South Dakota state senator David Omdahl of Sioux Falls. At a hearing over pending legislation to ban transgender persons from using bathrooms which correspond to their gender identity, the Republican senator made the audience audibly gasp, when he said:

“This is definitely a good bill. What’s this about?” he asked rhetorically. “This is about protecting our children. I’m sorry if you’re so twisted you don’t know who you are.”

That’s when the audience gasped and was told to quiet down.

“I’m telling you right now it’s about protecting the kids,” Omdahl went on. “I don’t even understand where our society is these days. You know, I look at what’s going on in the military, etcetera. They’re treating the wrong part of the anatomy. They ought to be treating it up here.” Then he gestured to his head. “So yeah, my feeling is let’s protect the children, let’s get this bill passed to save our kids.”

Despite the horror evinced by those attending the meeting, the bill is likely to move forward in the South Dakota legislature.

Maine’s Highest Court Rules: Transgender Girl Can Use the Girls’ Toilets

Nicole_Maines_from_API first reported that this case was going to court back last June, and a victorious ruling has been handed down!

Nicole Maines and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued her school district when they refused to allow Nicole to use the girls’ toilets, instead forcing her to use a teachers’ toilets instead. The court found in her favor, and according to the article it is the first time in the United States that a state supreme court has ruled in favor of a transgender person on a toilet issue.

Great news!

Maine court rules in favor of transgender pupil – ABC5 News Des Moines, IA.

Transgender Student Suit Goes to Maine High Court

Transgender student suit goes to Maine high court | Boston Herald.

This could potentially be an important case. From the article:

“Lawyers for a transgender girl and an elementary school that required the fifth-grader to use a staff bathroom instead of the girls restroom clashed before Maine’s highest court Wednesday over whether her rights were violated, a case that lays bare the difficult decisions facing school administrators.

The family and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued, but a judge in the state’s lower Superior Court ruled that the Orono school district acted within its discretion by requiring her to use a staff bathroom after there was a complaint about the student using the girls bathroom.

After Wednesday’s hearing, the student, Nicole Maines, who’s now 15 and attending a high school in southern Maine, said she wouldn’t wish her experience on anyone else and hope the justices hear her out.

“I hope they understood how important it is for students to be able to go to school and get an education and have fun and make friends, and not have to worry about being bullied by students or administration, and be accepted for who they are,” the sophomore said.”