Lisa Murkowski joined two other Republican senators in supporting marriage equality. Her announcement comes as the Supreme Court finishes decisions on two cases that may prove key for gay rights.
Murkowski, a Republican hailing from Alaska, posted an editorial online Wednesday where she announced her new position.
The senator explained how she came to this new realization after becoming acquainted with a lesbian couple who had four adopted children.
Because the women were of the same sex, however, they were denied status as a married couple.
“This first class Alaskan family still lives a second-class existence,” Murkowski wrote. Despite raising a loving family, she said, the parents are denied privileges heterosexual married couples take for granted.
Between restricted emergency visitation rights, legal issues with custody that may result in a child being taken from a parent, or the tax status differences, defining marriage as specifically heterosexual is unjust, said the Alaskan senator.
Supporting marriage equality is also a Republican value, Murkowski argued. As Republicans, one of the most central tenants of their political philosophy involves restricting government intervention into citizens’ lives.
This is an ideal, she notes, Republican hero Ronald Reagan argued for endlessly.
Marriage should be no different an issue to Republicans because “why should the federal government be telling adults who love one another that they cannot get married, simply because they happen to be gay?”
This stance, Murkowski writes, also supports religious freedom because it leaves defining what types of marriages a religious institution wishes to endorse and perform. This is not something that should be left to the federal government, she believes.
Senator Lisa Murkowski is known as a moderate in her party and marriage rights advocates have come forward to praise her announcement, expressing hopes that more Republicans will change their positions.
[Image via ShutterStock]