A fourth Republican U.S. senator has announced her support for gay marriage.
Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has served in Congress since 1997 and is running for reelection this year, announced her stance following an endorsement from Human Rights Campaign, a LGBT advocacy group.
"A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision," Collins said in a statement.
Chad Griffin, president of HRC noted that he had appreciated the work that the senator had done for his constituency over the years.
"Senator Susan Collins has played a pivotal role in advancing support for LGBT equality -- from her dogged support for the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' to her critical vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last year, to her proud support for marriage equality," he said in a statement.
Collins argued that this announcement was in line with her past legislative decisions.
"I have long opposed efforts to impose a federal ban on same-sex marriage. In both 2004 and 2006, I voted against amendments to the United States Constitution that would have banned same-sex marriages by preempting state laws," she said.
"Nearly 44 percent of Americans live in a state where same-sex couples can be legally married, and I believe this number will only continue to grow," she added.
The three other Republican senators who share Collins' same-sex marriage stances are Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, Rob Portman, Ohio, and Mark Kirk, Ill. Portman became the first Republican last year following his son coming out as gay.
Upon receiving the endorsement from HRC, she praised the organization for "fully [understanding] the need to have allies in both the Republican and Democratic caucuses.
"I am proud of the reputation that I have established for working with my Senate colleagues of both parties in a bipartisan spirit for fairness and equality. I look forward to our continued work together to bring people together and remove barriers that divide us," she said.
According to the Federal politics news site, The Hill, "Collins was suspected to be the next Republican senator in line to make an publicly support it. However, she continued to say it was an issue best left up to the states."
A recent poll showed Collins leading her Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows 72% to 17%.