AUGUSTA, Maine — A lawsuit targeting Maine’s ban on Sunday hunting is the first to argue that a new constitutional right to food trumps a major state law.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court by a Readfield couple, argues the ban on Sunday hunting is archaic and prevents them from harvesting food for their family. They are backed by Maine Hunters United for Sunday Hunting, a group that has unsuccessfully pushed the Legislature in recent years to overturn the ban.

It could be a landmark consequence of the constitutional amendment passed by voters in November enshrining Mainers’ right to grow and harvest food for their own nourishment. The short-term effect of the amendment was unclear during public debate over the change. In the long term, judges will be asked to decide whether regulations go too far or not.

The ban “is a historical and religious anachronism” that harms state wildlife management goals, wrote Portland attorney Andrew Schmidt, who is representing Joel and Virginia Parker.

The law prevents the Parkers from hunting more than one day a week due to their work and family lives, according to the lawsuit, which says the ban significantly affects their ability to provide food for themselves. It seeks for the Sunday hunting ban to be declared unconstitutional and halt the state from enforcing it. A Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesperson declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

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