OGUNQUIT, Maine — June marks Pride month, a time to celebrate LGBTQ+ members of our community, and the festivities are already well underway here in Maine.
Gov. Janet Mills joined the town of Ogunquit on Wednesday to raise its pride flag and mark the official start of Pride month.
"In my administration, you will always find an open door, an open mind, and an open heart," Mills said. "So, happy Pride Ogunquit."
She signed a proclamation, declaring Pride month throughout the state of Maine, and celebrated the start of Ogunquit's Pride week, an annual event that continues to grow in town.
"Following the flag-raising last year, we decided we needed to have a bigger celebration," Alice Pearce, executive director of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce, said.
Ogunquit has a Pride committee within its chamber of commerce. Rick Barber works for the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce and said the LGBTQ+ community has always flocked to Ogunquit and remembers how he fell in love with the oceanside town.
"When I used to live in Boston we'd come up here and go to the beach, and we'd come over here to the Front Porch and sing a few show tunes after the beach then we'd go home," Barber said.
He added that Ogunquit always felt safe.
Speaker of the Maine House Ryan Fecteau is the first openly gay speaker of the Maine House. He said he would continue to work to make sure the entire state feels safe.
"As we hear about hateful laws being passed around the country, laws that take rights and equal protections away from our LGBTQ neighbors. ... It's scary," Fecteau said.
This event comes about a month after the Maine GOP announced its new party platform calling to limit LGBTQ conversations in schools.
"As long as I am your governor, the state of Maine will remain a safe place to live for LGBTQ people," Mills said.
Pride week is underway in Ogunquit, and all activities are listed here.