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Friday, October 30, 2009

News releases:  4/12/2010  |  10/30/2009

Complaints dismissed against Maine counselor who supported marriage

ADF attorneys represents man reported to licensing board because he expressed support for Ballot Question 1
Monday, April 12, 2010

AUGUSTA, Maine — A state licensing board in Maine Friday dismissed two complaints filed against public school counselor Don Mendell, represented by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund.

The complaints claimed that Mendell, a licensed counselor at Nokomis Regional High School, violated the professional code of ethics for social workers by appearing in a television ad in the fall of 2009 that urged Maine voters to approve Ballot Question 1. In November, voters approved Question 1, which re-established Maine’s legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“The government should not punish people because they believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and because they say so during a political campaign,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.  “The licensing board was right to dismiss these complaints. The First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to speak out on important public policy matters being voted on by the people.”

“State governments around our nation license many professions, including, doctors, pipe fitters, beauticians, real estate agents, and many others,” Lorence explained. “The state rules governing licensed professionals should not be twisted to punish those who publicly advocate for marriage as one man and one woman.”

The first of the two complaints was filed in October 2009. Both complaints cited Mendell’s appearance in a “Vote Yes on One” television ad that encouraged citizens to vote in favor of Question 1. The complaint failed to mention that the ad was created in response to a “Vote No on One” ad that featured a Nokomis teacher encouraging a “no” vote on Question 1 from a classroom at the high school itself. The complaint was not critical of that ad or the teacher featured in it.

The Maine Board of Social Work Licensure discussed the complaints and then voted 2-1 to dismiss them.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

 

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Maine counselor's career threatened for support of marriage

ADF attorneys representing man reported to licensing board say complaint is attempt to shut down free speech, silence opposition
Friday, October 30, 2009

AUGUSTA, Maine — A high school counselor who supports marriage between one man and one woman has been reported to a Maine licensing board because of his views. Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund represent Donald Mendell, the subject of a complaint filed with the Board of Social Worker Licensure by a co-worker because he expressed support for marriage and the “Vote Yes on One” campaign.

“No one should have their livelihood placed in jeopardy because they believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “This threat to Don, his family, and his career makes clear that those in favor of redefining marriage also want to penalize and silence those who don’t agree with them. So, the definition of marriage is not the only thing at issue here. Free speech, freedom of conscience, and religious liberty are also in danger.”

The complaint attacking Mendell, a licensed counselor at Nokomis Regional High School, accuses him of violating the state’s code of ethics for social workers because of his expressed position on marriage.

The complaint cites his appearance in a “Vote Yes on One” television ad that encourages citizens to vote in favor of Ballot Question 1, which would allow Mainers to repeal a recent law that imposed a redefinition of marriage on the people. The complaint fails to mention that the ad was created in response to a “Vote No on One” ad that featured a Nokomis teacher encouraging a “no” vote on Question 1 from a classroom at the high school itself. The complaint is not critical of that ad or the teacher featured in it.

Mendell has 30 days from the date he received a copy of the complaint to respond to it.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. 

www.adfmedia.org