Lisa Murkowski Becomes Third GOP Senator To Endorse Same-Sex Marriage
Following in the footsteps of Ohio’s Mark Portman and Illinois Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski has become the third Republican Senator to endorse same-sex marriage:
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Wednesday that she supports legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the third GOP member of the Senate to endorse the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Days before the Supreme Court is set to issue decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Murkowski joined Republican Sens. Rob Portman, Ohio, and Mark Kirk, Ill., in supporting same-sex marriage.
Murkowski’s news was announced by the Human Rights Campaign, the major gay rights organization based in Washington.
“We hope other fair-minded conservatives like Senator Murkowski stand up and join her,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “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.”
Murkowski had previously said her views on same-sex marriage were “evolving,” using the language President Barack Obama had once used to describe his own views before endorsing marriage rights. She had been one of the few Republicans to support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
A veteran GOP senator, Murkowski has become somewhat unmoored from the rest of the Republican conference in the Senate following her re-election in 2010. After having lost the Republican nomination in Alaska to Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, Murkowski waged an unusual, independent write-in campaign, which she rode to re-election – a rare feat in politics. Since returning to the Senate, she has conferenced with the rest of the GOP.
I expect this will be the last Republican Senator we’ll hear from on this issue for the time being. Red state Senators are unlikely to stray from the GOP platform on this issue any time soon, and Senators in more “purple” states are likely to play it safe for the moment to avoid alienating the base of their party. What will be interesting to see, of course, is how the Supreme Court rules in its same-sex marriage cases, which we should know no later than June 27th, and what impact that has on the political zeitgeist on this issue.