FARMINGTON – With tension already high over a topless march planned for Friday, Michael Heath of the American Family Association of Maine called public nudity “the most objectionable feature of homosexual rights marches.”

He also said Tuesday that he has filed a public-records request with the University of Maine at Farmington for information on its financial support of a recent awards banquet for EqualityMaine.

The half-mile march, planned from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at Meetinghouse Park, is being organized by Andrea Simoneau, 22, of Brooks, a UMF senior. The event is based on a topless march that Simoneau attended this month in Portland. Protesters are expected to turn out as well.

Heath said he draws a connection between the march in Farmington and his records request because “the promotion and presentation of public nudity is a staple of the homosexual rights movement.”

He said UMF’s “silence” on the march is “tantamount to an endorsement of the march.”

A UMF spokeswoman and Simoneau said the university has no involvement in the march, which Simoneau said could draw about 70 people.


Simoneau said that while she personally does support gay rights, that’s not what the march is about. “It has to do with women’s rights and equality rights,” she said Tuesday. It’s about “not barring women from going shirtless on a hot day when that right is extended to men already.”

Although Heath acknowledged that the march is not being held specifically for gay rights, he said the university “has an unfortunate connection to the homosexual rights movement” through its support of the EqualityMaine banquet, which was held March 27 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

“The public is eager to know why tax money is used to support a cause they object to as a matter of religious principle,” Heath said. “Such questions are all the more timely and relevant now that the town of Farmington is home to a march more typical of San Francisco than Maine.”

On Tuesday, UMF officials said they had not received Heath’s records request.

Heath’s criticism of the university and Simoneau’s march follows other objections.

Women from several churches plan to line the streets in a “silent prayer protest” during the march, said Sandi Rebert, wife of pastor Brian Rebert of the New Hope Baptist Church in Farmington.

State law only prohibits people from exposing their genitals in public. That’s why Rebert said she and others are pressuring town officials and circulating a petition for a local ordinance that would ban public nudity.


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