Around New England

Maine Judiciary Committee Shoots Down Bill That Would Have Allowed Courts To Take ‘Emergency Jurisdiction’ Over Children Seeking Gender-Transitioning

January 29, 2024

A legislative committee in Maine has killed a bill that would have given a state court “temporary emergency jurisdiction” over a child if “it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child … because the child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care.”

The bill, Maine LD 1735 (“An Act To Safeguard Gender-Affirming Health Care”), also would have prevented courts from “considering as a factor weighing against the petitioner any taking of the child, retention of the child after a visit or other temporary relinquishment of physical custody, from the person who has legal custody, if there is evidence that the taking or retention of the child was for the purposes of obtaining gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care for the child.”

The Maine Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 against the bill last week, saying the measure “ought not to pass.”

Supporters of the bill say it’s designed to protect parents seeking gender transitioning for their child in Maine if the child ordinarily lives in a state that bans gender transitioning for children, and they argue that such intervention may be vital for the child.

Opponents of the bill say that gender transitioning is harmful and that the bill would wrongly deprive parents of their right to determine their children’s health care.

The Maine Legislature’s Judiciary Committee discussed the bill during a working session on Thursday, January 25. Two members of the committee spoke against the bill. No one spoke in favor of it.

Maine state Senator Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) said he has supported in the past certain measures he thought would help transgender people, but that there are “certain lines that I think need to be respected as far as the authority of the family versus the authority of the state.”

“I feel like this legislation takes a great leap over that line, with potentially empowering the state to even take custody of minors in a way that does not feel appropriate to me,” Brakey said.

(His remarks begin at 3:45:36 of the video of the committee meeting.)

After the brief discussion, the committee voted.

Democrats voting no were:  state Senator Anne Carney (D-Cumberland) (committee co-chairman), state Senator Donna Bailey (D-York), state Representative Matt Moonen (D-Portland) (committee co-chairman), state Representative Amy Kuhn (D-Falmouth), state Representative Adam Lee (D-Auburn), state Representative Stephen Moriarty (D-Cumberland), and state Representative Erin Sheehan (R-Biddeford).

The Republicans on the committee who voted against the bill are state Representative John Andrews (R-Paris), state Representative Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin), state Representative David Haggan (R-Hampden), state Representative Rachel Henderson (R-Rumford), and state Representative Jennifer Poirier (R-Skowhegan).


New to NewBostonPost? Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts. But you’ve found it. Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months. And join the real revolution.