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Senator Susan Collins Probably Won't Be the Next Republican to Evolve on Marriage Equality


Amid speculation that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) might be evolving like Rob Portman and Mark Kirk on marriage equality, the HuffPost made an inquiry. Nope:

"My view is the same that it's always been," Collins told The Huffington Post. "I think this is a matter of state law."

Collins, a moderate Republican up for reelection in 2014, said states have traditionally handled family law and should continue to do so. She noted that she voted twice, in 2004 and in 2006, against federal constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage because, "I believe it should be left up to the states."

She declined to elaborate on her own personal views about gay marriage, instead reiterating that the matter should be left up to states to decide.

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  1. I'm so damned sick and tired of reporters who never ask the follow-up question when politicians say, "I believe it should be left up to the states."

    That question: "Okay, Madama Senator, does that mean you believe the Federal government should recognize ALL Maine marriages? Or not? And if not, why not?"

    Posted by: K in VA | Apr 10, 2013 7:34:23 AM

  2. This isn't about how many days you have to wait for a marriage license. This is about discrimination...and she knows that damned well. These bigots used states' rights to oppose interracial marriage the same way.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Apr 10, 2013 7:39:06 AM

  3. Susan Collins is a man.

    Posted by: Jack M | Apr 10, 2013 7:40:59 AM

  4. Thomeone should tell Thuthan that Maine legaithed marriage equality in the latht election.

    Posted by: ChrisQ | Apr 10, 2013 8:01:52 AM

  5. Susan Collins is both wise and canny to keep her views to herself and I rather admire that she has. Their drift is clear enough however to be certain that her name be removed from any list of progressive politicians, to say nothing of those who have "evolved". She's an enemy.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Apr 10, 2013 8:06:01 AM

  6. She is a bit of a coward in terms of making public statements, but she definitely is on our side. Let's not forget she was instrumental in repealing DADT - after all, she was the one who introduced the stand-alone bill.

    Posted by: David | Apr 10, 2013 9:10:40 AM

  7. Another closet lesbian heard from!

    Posted by: keating | Apr 10, 2013 9:26:23 AM

  8. I agree with @K in VA. I can't stand when legislators say "it should be left up to the states" when asked about their personal views.

    Are we to infer that since Susan Collins's state has approve gay marriage, then she personally supports it?

    Posted by: Kevin | Apr 10, 2013 9:34:32 AM

  9. I see, David, that you've swallowed whole the Log Cabin talking points casting Collins as the savior of DADT repeal. The truth, of course, is that there never would have been any need for a stand-alone bill in December had she not on more than one prior occasion in 2010 joined in Republican filibusters of a bill including repeal. She clearly put partisan politics above our interests during the entire process.

    Regardless, that was DADT repeal, an issue where we really weren't asking her to take much political risk, given the overwhelming support for repeal in her state and the fact that she was four years away from a re-election campaign. Now we're talking about marriage and she has proven herself to be completely useless and far more concerned about the primary threat posed by Maine's Tea Party than the interests of our community.

    If she were representing Missouri or North Carolina, I'd be OK with her tentative responses to these questions (though I note that Kay Hagan of North Carolina, facing more difficult re-election prospects than Collins next year in a much more conservative state, has demonstrated the courage to stand up for our community). Maine, however, is one of the more progressive states in the country and we should expect much better than this. People who've been complaining about Mary Landrieu's stance on marriage - and I note that Landrieu, unlike Collins, at least has had the courage to express her personal support for equality - really need to adjust their perspective. Whether we should be satisfied or not with Senator Landrieu's responses, there is no way at all that next year we will be electing as Louisiana's Senator anyone with a better view on marriage than Senator Landrieu. On the other hand, we absolutely have an opportunity - though admittedly it's an uphill battle - to dump the useless Collins in favor of a marriage equality supporting Dem in Maine. Our community should be focused on that effort.

    Posted by: Patric | Apr 10, 2013 9:50:44 AM

  10. David...I guess I stand corrected. If she was "instrumental in repealing DADT" then she is our friend. Currently she could be clearer about her views.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Apr 10, 2013 9:50:50 AM

  11. Somehow the link led me to the GOProud lapdog talking about marriage, hilarious!

    Susan Collins answer is a non-answer, or rather it's a political calculation disguised as an answer. She needs to make clear whether she believes married gay couples in Maine should be treated differently (because of DOMA) than married straight couples and, if so, why? Instead, she's evasively counting down the clock till the Supreme Court answers for her.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 10, 2013 9:59:21 AM

  12. To be fair to GOProud's Jimmy LaSpit, he has already let Susan Collins have it

    "I don't know why she hasn't voiced her position on the issue of same-sex marriage," Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, wrote in an email to Metro Weekly. "I know that everyone is coming to support marriage equality in different ways for different reasons, but I don't know that there are political reasons preventing any US Senator from Maine from supporting it."

    Posted by: Chitown kev | Apr 10, 2013 10:23:42 AM

  13. Look, I'm not saying she's our savior or anything, but she's not a Mitch McConnell either.

    All of Collins' statements are non-committal/non-answers. That's what she does. She toes the line constantly. Of course it's frustrating, but when it comes down to it and if there was a vote to repeal DOMA, she'd vote for that repeal.

    Posted by: David | Apr 10, 2013 10:42:22 AM

  14. Look, I'm not saying she's our savior or anything, but she's not a Mitch McConnell either.

    All of Collins' statements are non-committal/non-answers. That's what she does. She toes the line constantly. Of course it's frustrating, but when it comes down to it and if there was a vote to repeal DOMA, she'd vote for that repeal.

    Posted by: David | Apr 10, 2013 10:42:23 AM

  15. Dont cave on the gun law. Support you voters. Take no part in the presadents plan B.

    Posted by: Gary L Smith Sr | Apr 10, 2013 11:43:08 AM

  16. David,

    (a) The fact that she is not Mitch McConnell would be a perfectly satisfactory answer if this were Arkansas or Louisiana or Missouri we were talking about. It's not. It's Maine and we need to expect and demand that Senators from places like Maine, where a majority of the population supports marriage equality, are willing to join our efforts. Her position - like that of the more openly bigoted Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire - is most definitely not acceptable for a Senator from a New England state. I said the same thing about Dem Tom Carper of Delaware a couple of weeks ago before he got on board.

    "Of course it's frustrating, but when it comes down to it and if there was a vote to repeal DOMA, she'd vote for that repeal.:\"

    Do you have any evidence to cite for that declaration or is it just wishful thinking? She certainly hasn't declared that she opposes DOMA, though she's been given every opportunity to do so considering that she's asked the question regularly. See the following sources and then please tell us what you know that all of these reporters and organizations do not: , and

    Posted by: Patric | Apr 10, 2013 12:14:52 PM

  17. Patric, get off my butt. It's not wishful thinking, it's called a reasonable assumption. She has been good in terms of gay rights and her votes and she has stated marriage is a state issue. You can reasonably deduce that she'd vote to repeal DOMA when you accept those facts.

    Posted by: David | Apr 10, 2013 1:58:57 PM

  18. She's a coward.

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | Apr 10, 2013 2:48:37 PM

  19. With hysterical queens like most of the posters here, who needs enemies ?

    Susan Collins is very the least of our worries.

    And it would be politically foolish for her to answer any other way.

    If you don't "get" that, you don't "get" US politics, and should probably STFU and making fools of yourselves !

    Posted by: Fred | Apr 10, 2013 3:39:14 PM

  20. David, it is not reasonable to assume that Collins would vote for DOMA when she has repeatedly been asked directly whether she supports repeal and has consistently refused to give a direct answer. See the multiple sources I have cited above. Moreover, saying that marriage is a state issue is simply a means by which she is attempting to avoid having to take a position on the issue, not necessarily an indicator that she would support DOMA repeal. Indeed, supporters of DOMA are as likely as opponents to cite states' rights in support of their position (since they view DOMA as necessary for a state like Alabama to continue refusing to recognize marriage licenses issued to gay couples in other jurisdictions - Section 2 of DOMA).

    Fred, I would be more than happy to test my knowledge of US politics against yours any day. Bring it on and then we'll see who is made the fool. Actually, Susan Collins is not the very least of our worries. Most of the current U.S. Senators currently hold positions on issues such as DOMA repeal which reflect the preferences of a majority of their constituents (so, for instance, Alabama's Senators are both against us and Minnesota's Senators are both with us). There are a number of exceptions, however, and this is where each side has an opportunity to strengthen its position. The haters will be seeking to knock out Senator Hagan in North Carolina, for instance. Similarly, we need to demand that Senators from the bluest States in the country stand with us. There is absolutely no excuse for Susan Collins being the lone member of the Maine Congressional delegation who refuses to stand with us. There are plenty of strong allies of our community, such as Congresswoman Pingree, who would be a much better advocate for our community in that seat.

    Posted by: Patric | Apr 10, 2013 4:16:30 PM

  21. Cowardly.

    Posted by: jd | Apr 10, 2013 4:33:39 PM

  22. Maine voters, including gay voters, have every right to know directly whether Susan Collins thinks DOMA should stand, or not. It's not that complicated. She either believes all the legal marriages of her constituents should be recognized by the federal government or only the marriages of her straight constituents should. It's not unreasonable, and hardly hysterical, for her gay constituents to want to know this basic information without reading her mind, particularly since it's clear that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional and infringes on her state's ability to treat all of its citizens equally under the law. She could easily argue for DOMA's repeal as a states rights issue without arguing for a constitutional right to marry.

    Like Patric, I see no evidence to support the idea that we could depend on her vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. And, like Patric, I need no schooling in New England politics. The time for New Englanders to be evasive on marriage equality has passed.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 10, 2013 4:42:14 PM

  23. Non-leader.

    Posted by: Douglas | Apr 10, 2013 4:45:21 PM

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