King endorsed by Human Rights Campaign

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King has received the endorsement of the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group.

King’s campaign said Friday the independent former governor is receiving the backing of the Human Rights Campaign, which has already been heavily involved in Maine politics this election season. The Washington, D.C.-based group has contributed $700,000 to Mainers United for Marriage, the group leading efforts to pass Question 1 on November’s ballot, which would legalize same-sex marriage.

“Angus King stands with the LGBT community,” Human Rights Campaign legislative director Allison Herwitt said in a statement. “From supporting marriage equality and ‘Yes on Question 1′ to signing an LGBT nondiscrimination bill into law, he has shown he values all Maine families and will fight for fairness on Capitol Hill.”

The Human Rights Campaign endorsement came the day after King unveiled a slate of endorsements from former Bangor mayors John Rohman, Joe Baldacci and Michael Crowley and others at an event at Geaghan’s Pub in Bangor. Baldacci’s brothers, former Gov. John Baldacci and Bob Baldacci, have both endorsed King’s Democratic rival in the Senate race, state Sen. Cynthia Dill.

Dill is also a same-sex marriage supporter while Republican candidate Charlie Summers opposes it and supports keeping the federal Defense of Marriage Act in place.

The Human Rights Campaign is the latest in a string of organizations that normally back Democrats to choose King over Dill. In recent weeks, King has received endorsements from the Maine Education Association, the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club and others.

The League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club recently turned their backing for King into an ad spot that champions King’s environmental record and paints Summers as an ally of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The Human Rights Campaign endorsement came the day after Summers accepted the backing of the National Rifle Association at an event at Maine Military Supply in Holden.