Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has become the fourth GOP member of her chamber to endorse marriage equality.
“A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” the Maine Republican said in a statement issued after several news organizations made inquiries. Collins joins three other GOP senators who have said they support gay marriage: Illinois’ Mark Kirk, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Ohio’s Rob Portman. She had been criticized for keeping her view to herself until Wednesday. Campaign spokesman Lance Dutson says she has consistently said the decision rests at the state or local level. She has twice voted against proposed constitutional amendments to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The Human Rights Campaign reacted by endorsing Collins’ reelection bid.
“Senator Susan Collins has played a pivotal role in advancing support for LGBT equality — from her dogged support for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to her critical vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last year, to her proud support for marriage equality,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “HRC is proud to stand with Senator Collins, and with allies on both sides of the aisle like her, because she firmly believes that every American should be evaluated based on their abilities, and not who they love.”
“I am grateful for the support that I continue to receive from the Human Rights Campaign for my work in the Senate to end discrimination and achieve LGBT equality,” said Senator Collins. “HRC fully understands the need to have allies in both the Republican and Democratic caucuses, and I am proud of the reputation that I have established for working with my Senate colleagues of both parties in a bipartisan spirit for fairness and equality. I look forward to our continued work together to bring people together and remove barriers that divide us.”