Maine delegation unanimously cheers Supreme Court pro-gay marriage ruling

Maine’s federal delegation unanimously cheered the Supreme Court decision Wednesday that declared the federal ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who has not publicly stated her support for gay marriage, said she agrees with the court’s decision that “the federal government should not discriminate against couples married in states that choose to legalize same-sex marriages.”

“DOMA was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, before I was elected to Congress,” she said in released. “Since that time, in 2004 and 2006, I twice voted against amendments to the United States Constitution that would have banned same-sex marriages by preempting state laws. I did so because states have traditionally handled family law.”

The Maine Republican has led the charge on several gay rights issues, including working to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and sponsoring legislation that would have granted legally married gay couples federal benefits. Most recently she worked with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on a now-scrapped amendment to the immigration bill before the Senate that would have afforded gay couples the same rights as straight couples. Leahy said Wednesday the DOMA decision negated the need for the amendment.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat representing Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, said he was happy that legally married gay couples in Maine would receive federal recognition.

“I applaud the justices for striking down the discriminatory ban that prohibits legally-married same-sex couples and their children in states like Maine from receiving all of the rights, protections and responsibilities marriage affords.” he said in a release.

Maine’s 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, called DOMA a “bad law.”

“As voters and legislatures in Maine and states throughout the country have shown, the government has no business telling two people in a loving, committed relationship that they can’t get married,” she said in a release. “Although there is still a long way to go for true marriage equality in all fifty states, as of today the federal government won’t be standing in the way of that goal.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King said Wednesday’s decision “delivered justice to thousands of gay Americans.”

King also signed an amicus brief in support of overturning DOMA, alongside Pingree and Michaud.

Given the fact that Maine voters just popularly passed a law legalizing gay marriage, the delegation is on firm political ground with their support for the overturning the federal ban. Collins faces re-election in 2014, but is not likely to face any legitimate competition during either a primary or a general election. Michaud, who has launched an exploratory look at running for governor, only stands to gain popularity among more liberal Democrats by continuing to show full-throated support for gay marriage.

Rebekah Metzler

About Rebekah Metzler

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer with U.S. News and World Report, who hails from the state of Maine where she covered state politics for the Lewiston Sun Journal and MaineToday Media. She spent much of 2012 covering the presidential campaign and particularly enjoyed her time on the road in states like Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Ohio and Ohio. Metzler earned her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and is a Bowdoin College grad.