Third GOP Senator Backs Gay Marriage

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska came out today in support of gay marriage, the third GOP senator to change course on the issue this year.

In an op-ed that will be posted shortly on the senator's website, she notes that her change in opinion is "consistent" with that she hears from her constituents in Alaska, especially the younger generation.

"I support marriage equality and support the government getting out of the way to let that happen," Murkowski writes. "The Supreme Court is set to make a pair of decisions on the topic of marriage equality shortly, and the national conversation on this issue is picking back up."

In 1998 the senator supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. Since then, she says, her thinking has "evolved as America has witnessed a clear cultural shift.

"Fifteen years after that vote, I find that when one looks closer at the issue, you quickly realize that same sex unions or civil marriages are consistent with the independent mindset of our state - and they deserve a hands-off approach from our federal policies."

The senator had hinted earlier this year that she her stand on the issue had been evolving.

Murkowski joins fellow Republicans, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio., and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who endorsed gay marriage earlier this year.

There are only three Senate Democrats left who continue to oppose marriage equality in some way: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

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