Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has become the 54th sitting senator, and third Republican, to back gay marriage.
Murkowski told of her evolution on the issue in an op-ed posted on her website, telling the story of an Alaskan lesbian couple, one of whom had served in the Alaska National Guard, and their four adopted children.
â€œDespite 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,â€ Murkowski wrote. â€œAfter 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 â€” 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.â€
Murkowski couched her support for gay marriage in conservative principles of freedom and family values.
â€œI support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of peoplesâ€™ lives â€” while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another. â€¦ I believe when there are so many forces pulling our society apart, we need more commitment to marriage, not less.â€
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