If you live in Maine you already enjoy the normal complement of protections against discrimination based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and all the usual demographic pigeonholes. But if a new bill being introduced next month manages to be passed into law you can also be protected from the government based on your position on the subject of climate change. This sounds like satire, but apparently it’s not. (Yahoo! News)
Rep. Larry Lockman has introduced a bill that would limit the attorney general’s ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change. It would also prohibit the state from discriminating in buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based on a person’s “climate change policy preferences.”
Lockman, an independent business consultant, said there is a “faith-based ideology of climate change hysteria and anybody who is a skeptic is immediately labeled a heretic who must be silenced,” the Portland Press Herald reported.
In his bill, Lockman says that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United “continued the protection of protected political speech, no matter the source or message.” That case allowed corporations and unions to make unlimited independent expenditures in U.S. elections.
I suppose the first question to ask is, protection from what? The author of the bill is bringing up some investigations launched by the state attorney general into whether or not Exxon Mobil “misled” people on the possible consequences of climate change. It sounds as if that’s where this bill is heading, but isn’t that already covered under the general concept of free speech?
It doesn’t seem to me as if the government can really discriminate against you based on the position you take in an ongoing scientific debate. If that were the case we probably could have locked up all the flat earth people by now. And if you can’t show some actual damages to someone it becomes difficult to get a law approved to protect them. Granted, the amount of taxpayer money which has been flushed into environmentally sensitive initiatives put in place by the EPA under Brock Obama might certainly be considered “damages.” But again, that’s really not discrimination so much as just bad policy.
But what the heck. We can let the state of Maine be the test bed for this particular experiment. If this manages to fly, who knows what might be next? I’ve been endorsing some form of protection for proper martini drinkers for years. Perhaps we could turn this thing around 180 degrees and start penalizing people who insist on calling drinks made with vodka “martinis.”