Alaskan Politican Becomes Third Republican Senator to Support Same-Sex Marriage
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the third sitting Republican senator to express support for same-sex marriage Wednesday.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an organization that promotes gay rights, reportedly released a statement Wednesday saying the senator supported equality for couples within the LGBTQ community.
Murkowski told sources this was a difficult issue to tackle. She also said she realized she would probably receive criticism for being a Republican who supported same-sex marriage, reports say.
"It is hard because marriage is such a deeply personal issue," she reportedly said. "There may be some that, when they hear the position that I hold,...are deeply disappointed. There may be some that embrace the decision that I have made."
Murkowski had announced in March that her views on gay marriage were shifting, according to sources.
"The term 'evolving view' has been perhaps overused, but I think it is an appropriate term for me to use," she reportedly said.
Murkowski's announcement arrived days before the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and the California ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8.
HRC President Chad Griffin told sources he hoped Murkowski's announcement would encourage others to advocate equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
"Senator Murkowski's courageous and principled announcement today sends a clear message that marriage equality must come to all 50 states in the country," he reportedly said. "As the Supreme Court prepares to rule in two landmark marriage cases this month, a growing bipartisan coalition is standing up for the right of all couples to marry - and there is no turning back the tide."
Republican Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) have also expressed support for the marriage of same-sex couples. The number of Senate Democrats who said they supported gay marriage is currently 51.