Maine Reject Extension of Civil Rights Protections Regardless of Sexual Orientation, Question 1 (2005)

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The Maine Reject Extension of Civil Rights Protections Regardless of Sexual Orientation People's Veto, also known as Question 1, was on the November 8, 2005 ballot in Maine as a veto referendum, where it was defeated. The measure would have vetoed legislation extending civil rights protections to sexual orientation. The public law was titled, "An Act To Extend Civil Rights Protections to All People Regardless of Sexual Orientation."[1][2]

Election results

Maine Question 1 (2005)
Defeatedd No223,27455.10%
Yes 181,926 44.90%

Election results via: Maine Secretary of State, Elections Division: Referendum Election Tabulations, November 8, 2005

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

Question 1: People's Veto

Do you want to reject the new law that would protect people from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and credit based on their sexual orientation? [3]


The following description of the intent and content of this ballot measure was provided in the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election:

This referendum asks whether voters want to approve or disapprove the newly enacted legislation that amends the Maine Human Rights Act to make it unlawful to discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation in decisions regarding employment, housing, educational opportunity, access to public accommodations and the extension of credit. Sexual orientation is defined to mean a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression. Religious organizations that do not receive public funds are exempt from the provisions regarding employment, housing and educational opportunity. The legislation also includes language stating that it may not be construed to create, add, alter or abolish any right to marry that may exist under the constitution or laws of the state or federal government.

The legislation was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in March, 2005. Petitioners subsequently collected a sufficient number of signatures of registered voters to refer it to the people for approval or disapproval at a statewide election. Its effect has been suspended pending the outcome of the election.

A “YES” vote is in favor of the people’s veto and disapproves the legislation.
A “NO” vote is in opposition to the people’s veto and approves the legislation.


Maine Secretary of State [1]

Media editorial positions


  • The New York Times said,

The questions are designed to be brief, often to the point of being misleading or confusing. When the list is interminable, as it is in some states this year, the overwhelmed voter might be best advised to just say no. [...]

In Maine, where the State Legislature recently expanded discrimination laws to include protections for homosexuals in housing, education and other areas, voters are being asked to exercise a so-called people's veto to reverse that law. In Texas, meanwhile, voters are being asked to approve an amendment cementing the current law against same-sex marriage into the State Constitution. We hope the good citizens of both states resist. [3]

—The New York Times [4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Signature requirements for ballot measures in Maine

"An Act to Extend Civil Rights Protections to All People Regardless of Sexual Orientation" was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor John Elias Baldacci on March 31, 2005. Petition signatures in an amount exceeding 10 percent of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of the petition were submitted to refer the law to a popular vote. The governor proclaimed, on August 15, 2005, that the measure would be placed on the November ballot.[1]

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