AUGUSTA – To try to build momentum against Gov. John Baldacci’s gay rights legislation, the Christian Civic League of Maine is labeling individual legislators as “pro-homosexual” or “pro-family.”

The league’s list came out Thursday and is on a still-developing chart on its Web site.

So far, the league has listed a handful as “pro-homosexual” legislators, including Sens. Peter Mills, R-Skowhegan, and Karl Turner, R-Cumberland, and Reps. Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop, and Stan Moody, D-Manchester.

The league is assigning blue boxes next to their names.

“Pro-family” legislators, according to the league, include Reps. Brian Duprey, R-Hampden, Scott Lansley, R-Sabattus, Randy Hotham, R-Dixfield, Robert Berube, R-Lisbon, and Philip Cressey, R-West Baldwin. They have red boxes near their names.

Turner laughed when told Thursday that the league listed him as a “pro-homosexual legislator.”

“Guilty as charged, but I also consider myself as pro-family.”

Michael Heath, executive director of the league, said Thursday he isn’t concerned about offending legislators with his labeling. “It’s a free country,” Heath said.

In the league’s view, any of the 186 state legislators who don’t vote the way the league wants are not pro-family, Heath said. The league is looking for “no” votes on Baldacci’s gay rights proposal; “yes” to a bill to change the Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman; and “no” to a bill that would repeal Maine’s Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits same-sex marriages.

Rep. Lillian O’Brien, D-Lewiston, is not on the list yet, but said Thursday she wants to be listed as pro-homosexual.

“Yes, I want to be on that list,” she said, quickly adding that labeling and name-calling is not warranted. O’Brien said she favors any bill that “levels the playing field” and ends discrimination.

Baldacci’s proposed legislation would outlaw discrimination against gays in the areas of housing, credit, education and jobs.

It’s not unusual for groups to scrutinize legislators’ voting records, Mills said, “but what is unusual is the labeling.” He said the Christian Civic League is “angry. They thought the gay rights issue was put to rest” after winning referendums in 1998 and 2000. “And here it is back. They’re bitter,” Mills said.

Mills said labeling him or anyone as not being pro-family is incorrect. “Just because you don’t want to discriminate means you’re against families? Of course I’m pro-family. Who isn’t?”

Baldacci’s bill is scheduled for a public hearing before the Judiciary Committee at 1 p.m. March 23. Legislators who vote yes “in our view are supporting the homosexual agenda,” Heath said. In Vermont and Massachusetts, similar laws protecting gays have led to legalized civil unions or gay marriages, Heath said.

The league is determining the position of each legislator through its lobbyist and from individuals who are contacting lawmakers and reporting back to the league.

Heath is also asking pastors who support the league’s positions to come to a State House rally on March 31. So far, several Baptist pastors have signed up.

The governor’s office was not supporting the league’s labeling effort.

“Michael Heath has the right to do what he wants on his Web page, but the governor and the people of Maine are interested in justice, fairness and living in a world that is not exclusionary,” said Baldacci spokesman Lynn Kippax. “This whole issue is not about sex, it’s about justice. The state of Maine is behind the curve when it comes to the civil protections we offer our gay and lesbian citizens,” he said.

Heath said the league represents 50 member churches and 150 supporting churches. Some 1,500 individuals contribute to the league, and collectively it represents 5,000 or more Mainers, he said.

Christian Civic League of Maine’s Web site is www.cclmaine.org. Its chart of legislators may be found by following the link that says “Click here to learn where your legislator stands on the homosexual agenda.”


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