Sen. Susan Collins is preparing to torpedo the Equality Act, the latest infuriating move from a senator about whom it seems like there is only ever bad news.
The Equality Act would update civil rights laws, extending the same protections already provided to other vulnerable groups to queer people. Currently, there’s a patchwork of protections across the country, and depending on what town you’re in, it might be totally legal for your boss to fire you for just suspecting you’re gay; for your landlord to evict you for thinking you might be trans; for your bank to deny you a loan because you’re a lesbian; for your school to kick you out for being bisexual, and so on and so on and so on.
Democrats have promised for years that they’ll pass this thing when the time is right, and now that they’re in charge of Congress, it seems like now, finally, at long long last, we might have reached that right time.
And then along came Susan.
A year ago, Susan Collins celebrated Pride month by declaring her support for the bill. But now that it looks like it might actually come up for a vote, she’s changed her mind. She doesn’t like it anymore. Sorry, everyone.
“There were certain provisions of the Equality Act which needed revision," Collins told Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade.
Okay, sure, what provisions, though? Ahhh, that would be giving away too much. Susan wouldn’t say. As Angela Lansbury once said, “It’s important for a woman to maintain a certain sense of mystery about herself.”
Susan did offer a quick closing remark: “I’m a strong believer in LGBTQ rights,” she said before walking onto an elevator and letting the doors close. Yaaaaas, fierce, thank you queen, give us nothing.
Her support is particularly important because of our stupid system of government that allows Republicans to grind government to a halt with filibusters if they don’t get their way. She’s one of the few Republicans whose support of the Equality Act was at least plausible, but now that it’s dried up, Democrats might not have the fillibuster-proof majority they need to keep the act from fizzling. Again.
The Blade reported that when asked about their support, other Republicans played dumb. Or maybe they’re not playing? Anyway, Marco Rubio said he didn’t know anything about the bill; Joni Ernst said she hadn’t read it. Real profiles in courage there.
Rubio occasionally likes to pretend that he’s an ally to queer people, like when he spoke up about human rights abuses in Chechnya. Collins, too, has embraced LGBTQ+ people when it’s safe to do so: Opposing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell after it was clearly going away; supporting marriage equality when it was clear it had majority public support.
That’s cool, guys, real nice to know we can count on you for bold leadership. I guess there's no reason for you to court queer donors if you know they're going to lose their jobs.