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Republicans in tough races embrace LGBT issues despite backlash risk

A collection of Republicans in Congress are embracing equal rights for the LGBT community, ignoring grumbling from social conservatives and the risk of drawing a primary challenger to take a position proving increasingly beneficial in political battlegrounds.

This week, three vulnerable senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — were feted at a fundraiser hosted by American Unity Fund, a GOP-aligned group that raises resources for Republicans who support equal rights for the LGBT community. Gardner could face pockets of resistance from social conservatives back home, and so could Tillis, who already is saddled with a primary challenger trying to outflank him on the Right.

Neither Tillis nor Gardner appears concerned.

“I think it probably is the best statement about how I go after policies I care about, and the politics have to work themselves out,” Tillis said Wednesday.

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