On June 14, 2019 Maine Republican Susan Collins came out strongly against Trump judicial nominee Matthew Kacsmaryk, citing his “alarming bias against LGBTQ Americans and disregard for Supreme Court precedents.”
What Collins didn’t say was that, precluding this public admonishment, she had voted for at least nine other Trump judicial nominees who ruled on multiple occasions against LGBTQ equality, further bending the law against LGBTQ Americans who already face steep institutional biases in the U.S. judicial system.
After her widely publicized vote against Kacsmaryk, Collins voted to confirm Allen Winsor to serve in a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. According to a Huffington Post reporter, Winsor, as solicitor general of Florida, had defended laws that banned same-sex marriage.
In October 2018, Collins voted to confirm Mark Norris and David Porter as a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit, respectively.
In 2017, Norris voted in favor of a right to discriminate bill in the Tennessee General Assembly, and publicly opposed the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom guidance, saying it would “require Tennessee schools to allow transgendered students to use the restroom or locker room of their ‘gender identity’ rather than the one that corresponds with their anatomy.”
To date, Norris has publicly bragged about his support of a constitutional amendment to overturn same-sex marriage, argued that a woman had no legal custody rights over a child born to her ex-wife through artificial insemination, and even voted for a bill that would allow therapists to refuse counsel to LGBTQ clients based on “sincerely held principles.”
Porter sits on the board of Grove City College in Pa., which The Advocate ranked as one of the most hostile campuses for LGBTQ students, noting the institution’s invitations for “ex-gay” speakers to come to campus.
Collins has voted to confirm multiple other nominees who either opposed marriage equality or non-discrimination laws against LGBTQ citizens, including Neomi Rao, Eric Murphy, Allison Jones Rushing, Britt Grant, and Stuart Duncan to U.S. Circuit Courts, and Leonard Grasz to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Collins has previously gone on the record in favor of LGBTQ equality, stating, “it is time we ensure that all people are judged on their talents and abilities, and have full access to the services they need and the opportunities they seek.“