Susan Collins becomes 4th Republican U.S. senator to back marriage equality

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U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on June 25 became the fourth sitting Senate Republican to support marriage equality.

The announcement arrived on the same day that the Human Rights Campaign announced its endorsement of Collins. HRC is the nation's largest LGBT civil rights group.

“Sen. 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.”

Collins, in a statement, said she is grateful for the support.

She also said, "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.”

HRC said for 18 years Collins has led on issues vitally important to LGBT Mainers and Americans. The group's endorsement 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 It’s fair to say that without her, 'don’t ask, don’t tell' wouldn’t have been repealed."

Also, "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."

At Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay GOP group, executive director Gregory T. Angelo said, “On the eve of the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in favor of federal civil marriage recognition for committed same-sex couples and the day after Congressman Richard Hanna’s victory over a GOP primary opponent who challenged him because of his support for marriage equality, it seems the dam has finally broken: from local legislators to United States senators, Republicans around the country are coming to the common-sense conservative conclusion that marriage equality strengthens society and is no threat to religious liberty."