Protection against discrimination is typically reserved for safeguarding individuals against prejudice directed at their immutable characteristics or religious beliefs. If one Maine lawmaker has it his way, however, self-serving ignorance could also become legally protected from discrimination.
Larry Lockman – a conservative state representative from Amherst – has introduced legislation that would add an individual’s beliefs about climate change to the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. If passed, a person’s “climate change policy preferences” could not be used as deciding criteria when the state makes decisions on purchasing private goods or services.
Lois Galgay Reckitt – a marine biologist and Maine judiciary committee member – discussed the proposed bill:
The issue for me is I’m a scientist and I live near the ocean. It’s absolutely clear to me that climate change is happening, and it worries me. I will fight this tooth and nail.
“An Act To Protect Political Speech and Prevent Climate Change Policy Profiling” – as the bill is called – comes on the heels of a Democratic-led lawsuit in Maine filed against ExxonMobil in 2016. As Lockman argues, the belief-system behind climate change is irrational:
It’s a faith-based ideology of climate change hysteria and anybody who is a skeptic is immediately labeled a heretic who must be silenced and now they are using the legal system to do that.
This, of course, is incredibly disingenuous. If Lockman’s words were taken at face-value, then Exxon and its board constitute a persecuted group of individuals targeted for their sincere beliefs. But this is not about what people actually believe; it’s about protecting the profit-making power of dirty energy. Reports emerged in 2015 showing that Exxon had concluded the legitimacy of climate change 40 years ago, and subsequently lobbied aggressively to spread misinformation that contradicted its own findings.
Codifying protection for big business’ deceit, Lockman is helping no one but those getting rich off the planet’s destruction.