Notaries public in Maine who officiate weddings of opposite-sex couples and refuse to marry same-sex couples could be subject to a claim of discrimination under the Maine Human Rights Act, according to the Maine secretary of state’s office.
The notice sent to municipal clerks this week effectively means an all or none approach for notaries public when it comes to performing weddings.
...The email clarified for notaries public whether they would be required to perform same-sex weddings when the new law allowing gay couples to marry goes into effect Dec. 29. The Bangor Daily News was provided a copy of the email by the Bangor city clerk’s office.
“If you are a Notary Public who performs marriages and you refuse to perform a marriage for a couple due to a person’s race, color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, creed, age, ancestry or national origin, you may be subject to a claim of discrimination.’’ Beaudoin wrote. “The new law authorizing same-sex marriage does not provide any exemption from liability for Maine Notaries who refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples.”
There are about 25,000 notaries public licensed by the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, a division of the secretary of state’s office, Barbara Redmond, who works in the bureau, said Wednesday in a phone interview.
... After the referendum allowing same-sex couples to marry was passed by voters on Nov. 6, a few notaries called the secretary of state’s office with questions about how the new law applied to them, Redmond said. A handful resigned.