Gender identity issues challenge state commission – By Lynda Clancy – The Herald Gazette Editor

Augusta: Which restroom one is allowed to frequent in Maine has become a topic of heated debate at the Human Rights Commission, whose decisions ultimately influence such matters at businesses, schools and government places throughout the state.

The five-member commission was established in 1971 to settle charges of discrimination that are investigated by commission staff, charged with enforcing Maine’s anti-discrimination laws and the Maine Human Rights Act governing employment, housing, education, access to public accommodations, extension of credit and offensive names. Commission policy is shaped by the commissioners, who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate for staggered five-year terms. The governor designates the chairman of the commission.