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Lisa Murkowski becomes third Republican Senator to support marriage equality

WASHINGTON –Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said today that she supports marriage equality. Murkowski joins two of her Republican colleagues – Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois – in endorsing the right of committed and loving gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Murkowski posted her decision on her website, which can be viewed HERE. In her statement, she wrote: “I support marriage equality and support the government getting out of the way to let that happen.”

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin applauded her decision to support same-gender marriage.

“Senator Murkowski’s courageous and principled announcement today sends a clear message that marriage equality must come to all 50 states in this country. 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 that tide,” he said.

“We hope other fair-minded conservatives like Senator Murkowski stand up and join her. 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 joins a growing number of elected and rank-and-file Republicans vocally supporting marriage equality. Earlier this year, a pro-equality amicus brief signed by more than 100 prominent Republicans was submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case [regarding Proposition 8]. And a number of recent polls have shown an emerging Republican coalition for marriage — including a clear majority of conservative youth.

She also supported both the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, also hailed Murkowski’s decision.

"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. And 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,” Solomon said.

“With a solid majority of the American public supporting same-sex couples' right to marry, along with a majority of Republican voters under 50, we'll see more and more leaders like Senator Murkowski -- from all parties and all states across the nation -- moving to be in line with the electorate and on the right side of history."

Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, saw the senator's move as a sign of progress.

“This is courage,” he said. “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. I encourage everyone to read Senator Murkowski’s full op-ed about why, as a committed Republican, she felt the need to support civil marriage equality for all. She articulates perfectly the inherent compatibility between a conservative, limited government worldview and support for marriage equality. Also, the Senator’s statements show the power everyday gay Americans have when they live their lives with honesty and pride — that’s courage, too. By spending time with a loving military family headed by two moms, the Senator was able to see what more and more Americans are seeing: that, gay or straight, a commitment to marriage and family are what family values are all about.”