Susan Collins Becomes 4th GOP Senator to Support Marriage Equality

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said on Wednesday that she supports same-sex marriage, the Bangor Daily News reports:

Collins“A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” Collins said in response to a question from the BDN.

Collins' spokesman Lance Dutson confirmed to the paper that she was announcing her support for same-sex marriage for the first time:

He said the senator hasn’t spoken publicly on the issue previously because she believes it is the voters of each state — not U.S. senators — who should make the decision on marriage equality.

“What she has consistently said is she doesn’t want to get involved in state-level referendum issues. She’s a U.S. senator, and she stays within the purview of her office,” Dutson said. “But when asked [Wednesday] about her personal stance on this issue, she’s said she supports it.”

Collins, long thought to personally support marriage equality, was silent at times when Maine needed her voice the most – during the tough campaigns to legalize it in the state.

Collins support came several hours after her reelection campaign was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, and her lack of a position on the issue was pointed out by her opponent, Shenna Bellows, the former ACLU of Maine director.

Said Bellows to the Bangor Daily News:

“My opponent’s voice on marriage equality could have made a real difference in 2012, when this was up for a vote in Maine,” she said. “At that time, I was organizing Republicans for the Freedom to Marry, and we invited Susan Collins to endorse the campaign. She declined.”

Log Cabin Republicans released a statement reacting to Collins' announcement:

“On the eve of the anniversary of the United States 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,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said. ”As a longtime ally of Log Cabin Republicans who championed repeal of the flawed ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy and most recently the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Senator Collins’ declaration of support for civil marriage equality is the latest milestone in a career that has exhibited bold and unwavering support for the LGBT community.”


  1. pablo says

    Another gay politician from Maine, except she wasn’t brave enough to come out of the closet. Single all her life and then she decided to marry her pretty nelly looking “longtime friend” at age 59. Guess this kind of support is better late than never, but it’s still disappointing.

  2. Dave says

    You guys know that she been supportive of our rights, right? She opposed every attempt to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, one of the co-sponsers of ENDA and advocated for lgbt people.

  3. Todd Out West says

    Dave: that doesn’t fit the “all republicans/conservatives baaaaaad” narrative.

  4. Icebloo says

    Too little too late. NEVER trust a Republican. She is just trying to save her own neck because the tide is turning.

  5. Dave says

    @icebloo: Why don’t you look up what she’s done for us in the past instead of labeling all R’s as crazy, anti-gay bigots (though admittedly most in power are there days).

    @Josh: So true.

  6. robroy says

    She’s had a prominant habit of trying to have things both ways. Supporting us partially. And most notably always supporting other politicians, judges and appointees who would work against us.

    She’s not the enemy but I’ll be damned is she a champion for equality either.

  7. David says

    I appreciate her support. However, if she truly believes marriage equality is up to voters of individual states, then she really doesn’t comprehend or truly support marriage equality IMO.

  8. JackFknTwist says

    @ DAVE :
    You are right she has been a moderate……and should have ceased to be in the GOP long ago.
    But coming out now for gay marriage/SSM, is really coming to the party a bit late.

  9. MaryM says

    Does she support regulation of corporations?
    Does she support the restriction on the amounts corporations and lobby groups can spend on elections?
    Does she support the abolition of the electoral system in favour of a democratic system

    If not then she still hates us and hates democracy – she merely does not hate us more than the rest of society.

    Republicans are evil scum.

  10. pablo says

    Todd & Dave — she supported gays when it was convenient and when she had public opinion on her side. She never led on the issue. And when it counted in Maine, she didn’t campaign for the cause, she actually refused to address any questions regarding the matter. She’s a coward and the fact that the HRC endorsed her over her opponent who was a major player at the ACLU and in Maine’s campaigns is very telling.

  11. says

    You mean she supported gay marriage when convenient (the political winds changed) like the VAST majority of other politicians (Clintons, Obama, etc…)? Shocking!!!

  12. keating says

    Give her a break — she’s one of HRC’s token Republicans. So they can pretend they are not in the pocket of just one party

  13. ThomT says

    Boy that was easy – Maine already has marriage equality so she really wasn’t taking any big political risk. Easy to support something after the fact.

  14. LCR says

    We’re just really happy that, for once, we get to talk about one of our own in a positive way. It doesn’t happen a lot. I mean, look at us Republicans – we’re throwing a celebration party because we now have *four* people who understand fairness, and history. *Four*

  15. GreatLakeSailor says

    This reply is too long so here is part 1

    “…because she believes it is the voters of each state — not U.S. senators — who should make the decision on marriage equality.”

    Really, Dame Collins!? The voters?

    71 years ago, some guy named Bob J, whose day job was to think about these things, then write them down as a guide for others said: …see part 2

  16. GreatLakeSailor says

    Part 2
    Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia v Barnette (1943)
    The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.

  17. Sam says

    Well good for her…politically. Let’s see what her views would’ve been if she were in office in a southern bible belt state!

  18. Sam says

    In the end, its CEO Tim Cook’s personal decision whether to come out as a gay man to the public media…as much as the likes of John Travolta, Queen Latifa, or Tom (I’m not Gay) Cruise.