EqualityMaine endorses Sara Gideon for US Senate

September 24, 2020
Email sent to EqualityMaine supporters

The 2020 election is less than 6 weeks away, and the stakes could not be higher.

So far this year, we have released our endorsements for President and Vice President, Congress, and the state legislature. We have endorsed Democrats, Independents, and Republicans who we know we can count on. 

And now we have one final endorsement: the US Senate race between Susan Collins and Sara Gideon. 

Susan Collins has been in the Senate for 24 years - ample time to demonstrate that she will fight for us. But again and again, Susan Collins has been a disappointment.

Consider the most basic of issues, non-discrimination:

15 years ago, Maine people voted by a large margin to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and education. But 30 other states had no such law, leaving LGBTQ people at risk of being fired from their job, denied housing,or kicked out of a restaurant or an office simply because of who they are, and leaving LGBTQ Mainers vulnerable if we traveled to those states.

The Equality Act would solve this problem by extending comprehensive non-discrimination protections across the entire country. In 2016, the entire EqualityMaine staff went to Washington to ask Senator Collins to cosponsor the Equality Act. She declined. It wasn’t until 2019 that Susan Collins finally signed onto the Equality Act, just as she was starting to face an extremely challenging race for re-election. That was fourteen years after the people of Maine passed a comprehensive non-discrimination law.

We deserve a Senator who doesn’t take 14 years to follow the will of Maine voters. And we deserve a Senator who will do the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because it’s election season.

On other critical bills impacting our community, Susan Collins doesn’t get any better. For example:

The Every Child Deserves a Family Act would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in foster care and adoption services. Chellie Pingree, Jared Golden, and Angus King are all cosponsors on this important bill. But Susan Collins? She’s a disappointment.

The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require schools to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive policies on bullying and harassment. Chellie Pingree, Jared Golden, and Angus King are all cosponsors on this important bill. But Susan Collins? She’s a disappointment.

The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would officially classify the harmful and discredited practice of conversion therapy as fraud. Chellie Pingree, Jared Golden, and Angus King are all cosponsors on this important bill. But Susan Collins? She’s a disappointment.

We deserve a Senator who will be a leader on legislation to protect our families and our youth.

The one claim to fame Susan Collins has on LGBTQ equality issues is her vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” a decade ago. Was that a good vote? Of course it was. But consider what has happened since then: 

The federal government set up a process for LGBTQ veterans to apply to get reinstated and become eligible for the benefits they earned by serving their country. But it takes on average three years for someone to go through that process. That is far too long, and many veterans don’t even know this option exists. A bill to expedite these reinstatements - the Restore Honor to Service Members Act - has been introduced in every Congress since at least 2013, but Susan Collins has not lifted a finger to get it passed.

We deserve a Senator who will be a leader in supporting our LGBTQ veterans.

And then there is the future of fairness and justice in our country:

Susan Collins has voted for 96% of Trump’s nominees to the federal courts, including nominees who had clear anti-LGBTQ records and even nominees who were deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.

Susan Collins dismissed our concerns that replacing Justice Kennedy - the author of every major Supreme Court decision advancing LGBTQ equality - with Brett Kavanaugh would be extremely damaging to our community. And our concerns proved to be exactly right: Brett Kavanaugh cast the 5th and deciding vote that allowed Trump’s trans military ban to go into effect. And he voted against the historic Bostock decision earlier this year that extended employment non-discrimination protections under federal law across the country.

We deserve a Senator who will protect the integrity of the federal courts, and who will vet nominees to ensure their commitment to justice and fairness for all, including marginalized peoples.

Finally, there’s Mitch McConnell. If he remains Majority Leader, he will continue to prevent every piece of pro-equality legislation from ever getting a vote on the floor of the Senate. And he will continue his efforts to rig the federal courts with right-wing ideologues who will reverse our progress.

We deserve a Senator who will not vote for Mitch McConnell to lead the Senate.

Are you tired of being disappointed by our Senator? So are we!  And, that’s why we are proud to announce EqualityMaine’s endorsement of Sara Gideon for US Senate.

Sara Gideon’s leadership in the legislature has brought remarkable progress on LGBTQ issues. As Assistant Majority Leader, she led the unanimous override of Paul LePage’s veto of the Maine Parentage Act, a groundbreaking LGBTQ-inclusive modernization of our family laws. As Speaker of the House, she led bipartisan pro-equality majorities in passing legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, prohibit the use of the gay and trans “panic” defense in criminal cases, and modernize the Maine Human Rights Act to clarify the protections based on gender identity.

In addition, Sara was the lead sponsor on two of EqualityMaine’s top priority bills, prohibiting insurance companies from excluding trans health care in insurance plans offered in Maine, and helping veterans who were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation or gender identity by making them eligible for state veterans benefits.

Sara’s track record of delivering real results for our community speaks for itself, and we know she will be a fierce advocate for us in Washington.

Over the last 36 years, our community has done the hard work - the signature gathering, the phone calling, the door knocking - to change the hearts and minds of Maine voters. And we’ve made remarkable progress because of everything we have done together. 

We shouldn’t have to doubt that our Senator will respect the will of the voters. We shouldn’t have to doubt that our Senator will do the right thing. We shouldn’t have to doubt that our Senator will protect our families and our young people. We shouldn’t have to doubt that our Senator will work to get our veterans the benefits they earned. And we shouldn’t have to doubt that our Senator will protect the integrity of our system of justice.

We won’t have to doubt any of those things with Sara Gideon. Please join us in supporting Sara Gideon for US Senate.

Click HERE for a full list of our 2020 endorsements.

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