Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization congratulates Maine on becoming the fourth state since 1998 to restore the right of original birth certificate access to adult adoptees. Following in the footsteps of Oregon, Alabama, and New Hampshire (Kansas and Alaska never sealed records) Maine's activist organization OBC for ME has shown that through focus, perseverance, and a refusal to compromise the rights of all for the privilege of a few, that a clean unconditional access bill can be passed. Overwhelmingly passed,
Despite naysayers, on June 18, near the close of the legislative session, the Maine House overrode and over ran the HB's 1084 "Do Not Pass" recommendation from the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary, 104-39. The next day, the Senate followed, passing, the bill 20-15. On June 20, the bill returned to both houses and passed "by the hammer" with no amendments. Bim! Bam! Boom!
Bastard Nation was highly critical of the 2006 records access campaign which began with a clean bill and finished threatened with compromises that made it unrecognizable. This time, OBC for ME (love the name!) ran a mostly under-the-radar operation. Activists emphasized the "localiness" of adoptee rights and the state's responsibility to its adopted people.
HB 1084 had an extremely strong sponsor, Rep. David Farrington, and the quiet personal lobbying of adoptee Sen. Paula Benoit to shepherd it through with non-partisian support. Benoit's dignified presentation for records access is credited by friends and foes of access with keeping the debate from the bitterness and acrimony that marked last year's circus.
Rep. Farrington's June 18 statement on the House floor ranks him as one of BN's heroes, though we were not involved in the bill. You can listen to Rep. Farrington and Sen. Benoit and other supporting speakers, along with a bit of anti-adoptee gas baggery (especially from the House side) at http://www.obcforme.org/.
Governor John Baldacci signed the bill on Monday, June, 25, 2007. It will take effect on January 1, 2009 and gives anyone adopted in Maine 18 and older, upon request, the right to their original birth certificate.
Bastard Nation salutes the come-backs kids of Maine! And we thank those legislators who agreed to undo the wrong done to Maine's adoptees in 1953 when their records were sealed from them. Other states take note: You can win without compromising your principles and the rights adopted persons. Maine rocks!
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
PO Box 1469
Edmond, OK 73083-1469