June 19, 2013 at 11:12 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Murkowski backs same-sex marriage
Lisa Murkowski, Republican Party, United States Senate, Alaska, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has becomes the 3rd sitting U.S. Senate Republican to endorse marriage equality. (Photo public domain)

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday became the third U.S. Senate Republican to endorse same-sex marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign said Murkowski, who voted for the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal bill in 2010, made the endorsement during an interview with KTUU, an Anchorage television station. The NBC affiliate said it will post the interview on its website later today and air it on their evening newscast.

Murkowski confirmed her position in an op-ed posted to her Senate website.

“Countless Alaskans and Americans want to give themselves to one another and create a home together,” she wrote, noting former President Ronald Reagan’s daughter said she feels her father would have supported nuptials for gays and lesbians. “I support marriage equality and support the government getting out of the way to let that happen.”

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo applauded Murkowski in a statement to the Washington Blade.

“Senator Murkowski could have waited for the pending Supreme Court rulings on the landmark cases being decided this month, but instead chose to stand up for what’s right without wasting another day,” he said. “I know this wasn’t an easy decision for the Senator, but that’s why it’s called courage. And the Senator’s statements show the power everyday gay Americans have when they live their lives with honesty and pride.”

HRC President Chad Griffin described Murkowski’s endorsement as a “courageous and principled announcement.”

“We hope other fair-minded conservatives like Senator Murkowski stand up and join her,” he said. “Alaska may be nicknamed ‘the Last Frontier,’ but we’ve got to make sure that LGBT Alaskans don’t have to wait to find justice.”

“Senator Murkowski joins the majority of U.S. senators taking a stand for equal treatment under the law on one of the most important bonds in our society: marriage,” Mark Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, added. “As the third GOP senator to announce support for marriage this year, she shows that the conservative tenets of freedom and family are perfectly in line with the freedom to marry.”

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk in April publicly endorsed same-sex marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) backed the issue during an March interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady and former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr., are among those who also support nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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