Earlier today Republican Senator Lisa Murkowsjki (Alaska) joined fellow GOP Senators Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Illinois) as the only sitting Republican senators publically supporting marriage equality. Murkowski cited several reasons for her change of heart, she supported a state gay marriage ban in 1998, including her experience with a lesbian couple who lives in her home state and has adopted four children.
Regarding the couple, Murkowski stated:
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. After their years of sleepless nights, after-school pickups and birthday cakes, if one of them gets sick or injured and needs critical care, the other would not be allowed to visit them in the emergency room – and the children could possibly be taken away from the healthy partner. They do not get considered for household health care benefit coverage like spouses nationwide. This first-class Alaskan family still lives a second-class existence.
Murkowski went on to state that changing views across country on marriage, and relationships in general, played a large part in her “evolving views.” She discussed the rise in divorce rates and the increase in cohabitation as societal changes that are making the traditional notion of marriage (“til death do us part”) as more the exception than the rule.
“Why should the federal government be telling adults who love one another that they cannot get married, simply because they happen to be gay? I believe when there are so many forces pulling our society apart, we need more commitment to marriage, not less,” said Murkowski.
She continued, “This thinking is consistent with what I hear from more and more Alaskans especially our younger generations. Like the majority of Alaskans, I supported a constitutional amendment in 1998 defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, but my thinking has evolved as America has witnessed a clear cultural shift. Fifteen years after that vote, I find that when one looks closer at the issue, you quickly realize that same sex unions or civil marriages are consistent with the independent mindset of our state – and they deserve a hands-off approach from our federal policies."
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