GOP Sen. Collins signs onto law to extend LGBT protections

    FILE - In this Wednesday, July 26, 2017 file photo, people with the Human Rights Campaign hold up "equality flags" during an event organized by Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., in support of transgender members of the military on Capitol Hill in Washington, after President Donald Trump said he wants transgender people barred from serving in the U.S. military. Congress will soon consider a comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination bill, but it could well be doomed by lack of Republican support. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- GOP Sen. Susan Collins is signing on as sponsor of a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill, the only Senate Republican to back the LGBT rights movement's top legislative priority.

    Collins said she's worked throughout her career to end discrimination and that "all Americans deserve a fair opportunity to pursue the American dream."

    The Equality Act of 2019, introduced Wednesday, would extend protections based on sexual orientation to employment, housing, public accommodations and public services. Many states, including Maine, already have adopted such protections.

    In the Senate, Collins is the lead GOP sponsor of the bill. The lead Democratic sponsors are Oregon's Jeff Merkley, Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin and New Jersey's Cory Booker.

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