Rep. Jared Golden is one of the Maine Legislators who repeatedly voted against a state law to punish those who commit FGM/C on the basis that only a federal law was needed, despite testimony from the Maine Prosecutors Association saying the state law was needed. Photo courtesy Golden for Congress.
Augusta – The common refrain from Maine Legislators who opposed passage of a state law to ban female genital mutilation/cutting was that there “was already a federal law” which made a state level law criminalizing the horrific procedure unnecessary.
Among the Maine lawmakers who voted repeatedly against passing the state law making the mutilation of young girls were Democrat Rep. Jared Golden, who was recently declared the winner of the election for Maine’s Second Congressional District after a controversial ranked-choice voting process, Rep. Erin Herbig, who went on to be elected the State Senator from Waldo County, and Rep. Sara Gideon, who is starting her second term as Speaker of the Maine House.
But Maloney’s testimony was not enough to persuade House Democrats, who united against House Republicans and a broad bipartisan coalition of nearly all members of the Maine Senate to vote down the FGM/C ban.
Now, it appears, that opposition on the part of those who fought Maine’s FGM/C law has rendered more than 400 Maine girls under the age of 18, and an estimated 1,600 women across Maine who are at risk of FGM/C with no protection under state or federal law.
The effort to ban FGM/C is so widespread globally that the United Nations has established an International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, and 27 states in the USA have banned FGM/C. Maine has even been provided a federal grant to do education and prevention of FGM/C, and the World Health Organization, UNICEF and countless other governmental and human rights groups actively work to make FGM/C illegal.
The Michigan case dismissed Tuesday by Judge Friedman involved eight defendants who were charged with mutilating nine victims, four from Michigan, three from Illinois and two from Minnesota.
In the decision, Judge Friedman stated that Congress has no constitutional authority to regulate any activity in this manner unless is represents significant economic or commercial activity, which the FGM/C case did not.
Friedman said, instead, responsibility to regulate or criminalize FGM/C falls to the states, which is the exact opposite of Maine House Democrat claims as they opposed the Maine proposal, and then as they defended their votes on the campaign trail earlier this fall.