Former Maine governor Angus King won election to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe in a victory that adds to the number of lawmakers supporting marriage equality in the upper chamber.
King decisively won the race to succeed Snowe, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Snowe, a moderate Republican, voted for pro-LGBT legislation including “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. No Republican senators have announced support for marriage equality, but the bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which would allow federal recognition of same-sex marriages, advanced in the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.
King is expected to caucus with the Democrats, who will retain control of the Senate. In addition to electing King, Maine voters also passed the marriage equality referendum, the first time advocates have initiated such a measure.
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement lauding King’s victory.
“Senator-elect King promises to be a fighter for all families and we are thrilled to add another marriage equality supporter to the U.S. Senate,” said Chad Griffin, HRC’s president. “I know he will work every day to ensure that the voices of LGBT people and our families are heard in the halls of Congress and we look forward to working with him on critical priorities for our community.”
The Senate saw a net gain of four members who support marriage equality, according to HRC. In addition to King, the chamber added Chris Murphy in Connecticut, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, and Martin Heinrich in New Mexico. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin will maintain the pro-marriage equality position of their predecessors.