The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, has endorsed Senator Susan
Collins' Democratic challenger, Sara Gideon.
HRC made six candidate endorsements on
Wednesday. In addition to Gideon, HRC endorsed Theresa Greenfield in
Iowa, M.J. Hegar in Texas, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, and Jon
Ossoff in Georgia, as well as the re-election campaign of
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.
HRC has previously endorsed Collins, a
Republican, three times.
In announcing the endorsements, HRC
President Alphonso David cited the need to pass the Equality Act, an
LGBT protections bill that cleared the House but stalled in the
Republican-led Senate. Collins and Markey were co-sponsors of the
legislation in the Senate.
“Despite support from 70% of the
American public, Mitch McConnell has stood in the way of progress for
LGBTQ people and refused to even allow a vote on the Equality Act,”
said David in a statement. “Today’s endorsements mark the next
step of HRC’s efforts to elect a pro-equality U.S. Senate and end
McConnell’s tenure as majority leader. Each of these candidates are
true allies of our movement and will work to ensure LGBTQ people are
treated with the respect and dignity every human deserves. Together,
united like never before, we can achieve the change our community
Speaking with the
Blade, David said that while Collins was a strong ally to the
LGBT community, she remained in lockstep with Republican leadership
on many critical issues.
“We are fighting for our lives and
the only way to advance LGBTQ equality through the United States
Senate is to install a new pro-equality majority leader and replace
Mitch McConnell,” David said. “Despite Susan Collins’ record of
support on certain key LGBTQ issues, her support of Mitch McConnell
and Donald Trump’s agenda, endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh’s
appointment to the Supreme Court and failure to hold Donald Trump
accountable, is simply untenable.”
David was referring to Collins' vote to
acquit President Donald Trump in February. Her vote also angered
Republican groups opposed to Trump, such as The Lincoln Project.
A spokesperson for the Collins campaign
chided HRC for its decision, saying that “this is not how you treat
a friend and ally.”