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Murkowski becomes third GOP Senator to support marriage equality

Murkowski becomes third GOP Senator to support marriage equality

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Wednesday that she supports legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the third Republican Senator to support marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Murkowski made the announcement in an interview early Wednesday with KTUU-TV, followed by a column on her website.

Mark Thiessen, AP
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

“I am a life-long Republican because I believe in promoting freedom and limiting the reach of government,” Murkowski wrote in a column on her website. “When government does act, I believe it should encourage family values.”

“I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of peoples’ lives – while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”

In March, Murkowski said her views on marriage equality were “evolving” after years of opposing it, but said her position may depend on what she hears from her constituents in Alaska.

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In explaining the change in her views, Murkowski cited her own experience. She said she had recently nominated a same-sex couple from Alaska as “Angels in Adoption” and ate lunch with the family, which included four adopted children.

It bothered her, she wrote, that, “despite signing up and volunteering to give themselves fully to these four adorable children, our government does not meet this family halfway and allow them to be legally recognized as spouses.”

In the past, Murkowski has voted to support proposed constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

She joins Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who earlier this year became the first GOP senators to back same-sex marriage.

Forty-nine Democratic senators and two independents senators also back same-sex marriage. Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin, of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, remain opposed.

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