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June 25, 2014

Category: Federal Advocacy, State Advocacy, Maine

Human Rights Campaign Endorses Susan Collins for U.S. Senate

Leading LGBT rights organization recognizes Collins’ leadership building bipartisan support for equality legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that it is endorsing U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) for reelection to the United States Senate.  HRC is the nation’s largest civil rights organization and represents more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans. Today, Senator Susan Collins became the fourth sitting Senate Republican to support marriage equality.

“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.”

For eighteen years, Susan Collins has led on issues vitally important to LGBT Mainers and Americans. HRC’s endorsement today is based on a solid and consistent track-record of support for a whole host of issues important to LGBT equality. It’s fair to say that without her, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell wouldn’t have been repealed. And Senator Collins led the historic effort to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate late last year. Her support for marriage equality is further evidence of her commitment to freedom and equality for all Americans. Her leadership has been both remarkable and exemplary and she’s deserving of the support of all fair-minded Mainers.

Susan Collins has a strong record of fighting for LGBT equality at the federal level

Susan Collins joined with Senator Joe Lieberman to author historic legislation to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”   In May 2010, Senator Collins was the only Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee to vote to include repeal of the military discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the Defense Authorization bill.  Senators Collins and Lieberman (I/D-CT) introduced standalone legislation to repeal DADT.  Senator Collins worked tirelessly to secure support from other Senate Republicans and in December 2010, by a vote of 65-31, the Senate struck down the ban on gay men and women openly serving in the military.

Susan Collins led efforts in the Senate to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  With Susan Collins as one of the key floor managers, the U.S. Senate passed legislation, known as ENDA, prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity in November 2013.  Senator Collins is a long-time supporter of ENDA, having cosponsored the bill when it was introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in 2002.  She was the lead Republican sponsor in 2009 and 2011 and successfully managed its passage in 2013.

In 2004 and 2006, Susan Collins voted against a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage by pre-empting state laws, and in 2013, Collins said she agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision that the federal government should not discriminate against couples married in states that choose to legalize same-sex marriage.

In addition, Susan Collins has long supported efforts to extend federal benefits to domestic partners of federal employees; to end the disparate tax treatment of benefits provided for domestic partners and other non-spouse beneficiaries under employers’ health plans; to provide the Department of Justice with resources to effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation; and to provide services to LGBT victims of domestic violence, among many other issues.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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