It’s Time for HRC to Hold Susan Collins Accountable


Collins Was a More Reliable Vote for the GOP Last Year Than in Any Other Year She's Been a Senator

This op-ed was originally published September 12, 2018

It's time for the Human Rights Campaign to make a strong statement about what is expected of candidates who receive their endorsement. HRC should withdraw its endorsement of U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) if she votes to place Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

“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, during her 2014 re-election 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 responded, saying, “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.”

So while Senator Collins seemed to suggest these are the principles she lives by, she is now considering one vote in the next couple of weeks, a vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for a lifetime appointment. Judge Kavanaugh can undo nearly all Sen. Collins says she stands for and what HRC endorsed her for.

This is the second Justice we can count on for anti-gay opinions who she has voted for as she cast a yes vote for Neil Gorsuch, an originalist in the vein of Scalia. The fact is Collins was a more reliable vote for the Republican Party last year than in any other year she's been a senator. It appears the longer she is in the Senate the more she follows the leaders of her Party and those leaders are now the anti-gay McConnell and Trump. 

In the case of Kavanaugh he has been vetted and approved by the Federalist Society, was a part of the Richard Mellon Scaife funded far-right cabal in the early 90’s, and has been shown to have lied at his earlier hearings. It is beyond reason to believe Collins truly believes his promises and is just falling for his lies. 

It is time for the Human Rights Campaign to stand up to Collins and say to her, should she vote to confirm Kavanaugh, they will withdraw their endorsement. They must do so to make it clear to members of both parties that support for the LGBTQ+ community is not a sometimes yes-sometimes no affair. If you truly believe in the rights of the LGBTQ+ community you cannot support a nominee to the Court with a life-time appointment who is anti-gay.

Peter Rosenstein is a community and Democratic activist based in Washington, DC, where he appears in the media as a commentator on issues including LGBT rights, politics and education. His columns may be found here

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