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Press Release: Regarding EqualityMaine's Endorsement

"Eliot Cutler is a long-time and steadfast supporter of equality and non-discrimination protections for LGBT Mainers, including marriage for same-sex couples."


PRESS RELEASE:

The following statement is being released by the Cutler campaign regarding EqualityMaine's endorsement.  Please also note the details about each candidate’s record below including the 19 votes against equality that were cast by Mike Michaud.

STATEMENT:

From Cutler Campaign Spokesperson, Crystal Canney: 

"This was a partisan political decision, not a principled one. Eliot Cutler and his family have stood side by side with the LGBT community for decades as outspoken advocates and supporters. Mike Michaud's voting record in the Maine Legislature -- 19 consecutive votes against equal rights for the LGBT community -- speaks for itself.  EqualityMaine cannot take away Eliot Cutler's record on these issues, any more than they can create a new record for Mike Michaud.  Once again, another special interest group has abandoned its principles and denied its members an opportunity to hear from the candidates in a debate or forum and have a voice in their endorsement process.  Eliot is honored to have the support of many individuals in Maine's LGBT community, including outstanding leaders like former EQME executive director Betsy Smith.  Eliot looks forward to debating Mike on these and many other issues and is confident that Maine voters will choose their next governor based on their records and their vision for Maine, not endorsements made behind closed doors."

Eliot Cutler's Record

Eliot Cutler is a long-time and steadfast supporter of equality and non-discrimination protections for LGBT Mainers, including marriage for same-sex couples.  Eliot’s support for equal rights and equality of opportunity is deeply ingrained in his value system. His father, Dr. Lawrence Cutler, was the chair of the board of trustees of the University of Maine System in 1973 when students at the Orono campus formed the Wilde-Stein Club to promote the rights of gay and lesbian students, triggering outrage and fierce opposition from political leaders and many Maine citizens.  The governor and members of the state legislature threatened to shut down the organization and stop the group from holding a symposium on campus, but the board of trustees, led by Dr. Cutler, voted unanimously to protect the students’ rights.

Eliot speaks passionately about what it was like for his mother and father to receive death threats and hate mail and to have sermons delivered by a local preacher who declared his father to be in cahoots with the devil.  It was a frightening and searing experience for the Cutler family, but Eliot knows that the fears felt by the members of Maine’s LGBT community must have been far greater. The students who founded the Wilde-Stein Club showed remarkable courage and blazed the way in Maine for LGBT equality.  

In the 2010 campaign, Eliot spoke out about the issue of marriage equality in debates and forums everywhere in Maine.  In a general election debate in Bath, he argued eloquently against sending the matter to referendum:

“I believe this is a matter of equal protection under the law. I think that religion should not be making rules for government, and I think government should not be making rules for religion. I think that is a fundamental building block of this country. It’s a fundamental building block of this state. And with all due respect to my friends, Sean (Moody) & Kevin (Scott), I don’t think it’s (a matter for voters’) personal choice. I don’t think it is an issue for a referendum. I think it is an issue of Constitutional equal rights protection under the law and as Governor of the State of Maine, I’m not going to sit on my hands and wait for the legislature to move again. I will lead the move in Maine for equal rights.  . . .  I don’t think this is a subject for referendum anymore than I think the rights of Jews or black people or anybody else is a subject for referendum.”  (see video at http://cutler4.me/1jFn80s

LONG-TIME SUPPORT FOR ISSUES OF EQUALITY

Melanie and Eliot have been long-time supporters of fairness and equality for LGBT people and those living with HIV and AIDS.  Their giving to such organizations dates back to 1989, when they started giving annually to the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington.  One of the first specialty clinics of its kind in the United States, the Clinic’s mission is “…to be the highest quality, culturally competent community health center serving greater Washington’s diverse urban community, including individuals who face barriers to accessing care, and with a special expertise in LGBT and HIV care.”

The Cutler’s are long time suppoters of Maine-based LGBT organizations.  In 1999, they made their first of several donations to the Maine SpeakOut Project, a program that taught people to be effective community voices in bringing attention to discrimination faced by LGBT people and spotlighted the need to broaden the Maine Human Rights.

They gave to the Protect Maine Equality campaign in 2009, and their first donation to EqualityMaine was in 2010. 

Eliot and Melanie have sponsored the EqualityMaine annual awards dinner since 2010.  At the award dinner earlier this year, Eliot offered a matching challenge at the VIP reception to pay off the remaining campaign debt and subsequently gave additional funds.

In 2011, Eliot co-hosted one of the early fundraisers for the marriage effort at the home of Russ Harrington and Walter Gary in Bangor, who live in the house where he grew up and where his father practiced medicine.  He made the fundraising pitch at the event and raised over $10,000 for EqualityMaine.

Eliot and Melanie opened their home for one of the most successful fundraising events for the Mainers United for Marriage campaign. The fundraiser generated over $65,000 in money for the campaign effort, including a personal contribution from the Cutlers, offered as a matching challenge.  

Eliot recognizes that not everyone is in the position to give as generously as he and Melanie have given, but they have made equality for LGBT Mainers the principal focus of their giving for many years, and they feel fortunate to have been able to support these important efforts.  

 

Michaud's Record

 Rep. Michaud has a mixed and inconsistent record. During the course of a 20-year campaign to enact a law to prohibit discrimination in Maine against LGBT citizens, there were 19 separate votes from 1981-1997.  On every single occasion, as a member of the House and the Senate, Mike Michaud voted against the legislation, long after public sentiment in Maine had begun to shift.  Michaud was one of only 5 Senators to oppose enactment on the twentieth anniversary of the debate, in May 1997, when the amendment to the Human Rights Act finally passed both chambers, was signed by Governor Angus King and became law.

These 19 votes are summarized here:

1) May 11, 1981 – Michaud was one of 99 House members who voted to kill the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (39 Members supported ending discrimination.  Michaud did not.)

2) May 17, 1983 – Michaud was one of 101 House members who voted to kill the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (37 Members supported ending discrimination.  Michaud did not.)

3) May 18, 1983 – Michaud was one of 102 House members who voted against the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (38 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

4) June 7, 1985 – Michaud was one of 98 House members who voted to kill the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (41 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

5) June 10, 1985        Michaud was one of 80 House members who voted against delaying consideration on a vote to send the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment to conference.  (60 Members supported delaying consideration, which was the anti-discrimination vote. Michaud did not.)

6) June 10, 1985 Michaud was one of 85 House members who voted against the sending the bill to Conference Committee, essentially a vote to kill the bill a second time.  (51 Members supported sending the bill to Conference, which was the anti-discrimination vote.  Michaud did not.)

7) On May 27, 1987, Michaud was one of 88 House members who voted to kill the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (45 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

8) On May 18, 1989, Michaud was one of 67 House members who voted kill the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (73 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not. The motion to kill fails and the bill moves forward in the House for the first time.)

 9) On May 19, 1989, Michaud was one of 79 House members who voted to table the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (60 Members vote against tabling the bill, which is the anti-discrimination vote. Michaud votes to table the bill.)

10) On May 19, 1989, Michaud was one of 103 House members to support the Hepburn amendment to the bill, calling for a statewide referendum rather than amending the bill through the underlying legislation.  (36 Members opposed the amendment.  Michaud supported sending the issue to referendum.)

11) On May 19, 1989, Michaud was one of 63 House members who voted to kill the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (71 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

12) On May 19, 1989, Michaud was one of 63 House members who voted against allowing passage to be engrossed on the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (69 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

13) On April 1, 1991, Michaud was one of 74 House Members to vote against passage of the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (69 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

14) On April 16, 1991, Michaud was one of 75 House Members to vote against the motion that the House recede and concur on the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (56 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

15) On April 16, 1991, Michaud voted with 80 House Members against sending the non-discrimination measure to conference committee. (58 Members voted to send the bill to conference, which was the anti-discrimination vote. Michaud voted against it.)

16) On April 13, 1993 Michaud paired his vote, voting nay on passage of the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (71 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.)

 17) On April 14, 1993, Michaud paired his vote, voting against enactment of the bill to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodation or employment.  (72 Members supported ending discrimination. Michaud did not.  The House and Senate voted in favor of enactment, but the bill was vetoed by the governor.)

In 1995, there were no floor debates or roll call votes on the issue in the state Senate.

18) On May 7, 1997, Michaud was one of only five (5) state Senators to vote against passage of LD 1116, the act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. (28 Senators voted that day to pass the bill.  Michaud did not.)

19) On May 9, 1997, Michaud was one of only five (5) state Senators to vote against enactment of LD 1116.  25 Senators voted that day in favor of enacting the bill.   Michaud is one of 5 Senators to vote against enactment. The bill was formally enacted on 5/16/97, and signed by the Governor of Maine on the same day.

 

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To read more about Eliot's pro-Equality record, click here: www.eliotcutler.com/equality

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