(Portland Press Herald/Edward D. Murphy) — Gov. Paul LePage, as an individual, has joined eight states in backing Mississippi’s appeal of a federal court ruling that struck down the state’s “religious freedom” law.


The law allows public employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violates their “sincerely held religious or moral convictions,” as long as the employee makes sure that the couple is able to get a license without delay. The law also would bar the state from forcing a pastor to perform, or a church to host, a same-sex wedding; from punishing foster or adoptive parents for “raising their children according to their religion’s teachings regarding same-sex marriage;” or compelling businesses, such as photographers or wedding cake makers, to provide services to a same-sex couple’s wedding if it violates their religious beliefs or convictions.