Via the Bangor Daily News:
Maine Sen. David Burns will withdraw his ‘religious freedom’ bill because of scrutiny the bill has received and comparisons to the controversial Indiana law that drew national outcry over concerns it allowed for discrimination against gays and lesbians. Burns has said the bill, LD 1340, was about protecting Mainers’ right to free exercise of religion from unnecessarily burdensome state law.
While he played down comparisons to Indiana’s law, Burns’ bill is nearly identical in substance to the controversial religious freedom law passed recently in that state, which sparked national controversy and debate over whether religious conviction can justify discrimination, specifically against gays and lesbians.
On Wednesday, Burns said his bill was not about discrimination and blamed his critics and the media for preventing even the possibility of a “fair hearing.” “Opponents of this bill and some in the media have poisoned the well of public discussion,” Burns, R-Whiting, said in a release Wednesday. “They have been guided by an unwillingness to discuss factual information and inaccurate comparisons to the events in Indiana.”
A group of pro-LGBT clergy was preparing to protest the bill outside the state house just as the news of its demise reached them. (Tipped by JMG reader Seth)