Senate Republican Office
Full press conference can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/senatorgarrettmason/
I would first like to thank the governor and Rep. Sirocki for bringing this important matter forward again this session.
While some have tried to politicize this issue by linking it to Islam, I want to make it clear that this is a cultural issue, not a religious one, and it’s a practice that absolutely cannot be tolerated on Maine soil.
I am here today, as a proud co-sponsor, to stand up for defenseless young women, regardless of their religion, where they come from or the color of their skin, because in today’s age, children should not have to endure this barbaric, life-changing act – especially in the United States.
Last session, Maeghan Maloney, the DA for Kennebec and Somerset Counties, testified on behalf of the bipartisan District Attorney’s Office that, without this legislation, quote, “The prosecutors do not feel confident that they can charge someone with committing Female Genital Mutilation,” because even though it is federally illegal, “…the DA Offices try by far the most criminal cases in Maine.”
Further, Maloney stated that, “…Female Genital Mutilation has been occurring in white, Christian communities in the United States – hidden and unreported for years. Mutilation is not a religious practice…it crosses over all religions and ethnicities.”
We currently are not doing enough to protect children from FGM. As more states pass legislation criminalizing this practice, Maine will become a safe space for adults to mutilate young children. Is that a legacy that we want for our state?
The Senate passed a bill to criminalize FGM last session with overwhelming, bipartisan votes on three occasions. My hope is that this time, we can change enough hearts and minds in the House to see it through to the finish line.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s call evil by its name and let’s outlaw this practice in Maine.