GOP Senator Murkowski now supports gay marriage

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has just become the third GOP Senator to support gay marriage, aka “marriage equality.” The other two are Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rob Portman of Ohio.


Portman famously endorsed gay marriage in marriage of this year, while simultaneously announcing that his son was gay. He was the first Republican Senator to come out for gay marriage, and faced significant backlash from party activists for “agreeing with sodomy.”

Kirk came out for marriage equality in April, issuing a succinct and poignant statement of support:

When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others.

Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back– government has no place in the middle.

In addition to the 3 Republicans, 49 Senate Democrats and 2 Independent senators (who caucus with the Democrats) also support gay marriage.

The three Democratic Senators who refuse to support gay marriage are Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Marko Pryor of Arkansas.

The news of Murkowski’s change of heart on gay marriages as the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on two major gay marriage cases, one involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and a second concerning Proposition 8. DOMA bans the federal government from providing federal benefits to legally-married gay couples and stops states from having to recognize each other’s same-sex marriages. Prop 8 was passed in California in 2008 in order to repeal the right to marry for gay couples in that state.

The decision on those cases could come as early as 10:00 am Eastern time on Thursday morning.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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25 Responses to “GOP Senator Murkowski now supports gay marriage”

  1. cole3244 says:

    a line i prefer not to stand in.

  2. dcinsider says:

    Actually I think that’s a line dance.

  3. Naja pallida says:

    I don’t think it’s enforced, in so much as Rove and crew held sway over people, but you can see the general mindset these days, that if someone isn’t sufficiently right-wing, and hitting on all the appropriate hard-line points, they can guarantee to be primaried by a Koch-funded candidate, attacked on right-wing talk radio, and lambasted on Fox Noise. They have no leadership left… now it’s just right-wing hysteria, full steam ahead.

  4. rerutled says:

    Should the SCOTUS return judgements which take down DOMA and Prop 8, but leave it open that marriage equality need not be recognized in all 50 states, then Senator Reid — and I’m going to say, through the person of New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand — should begin rounding up a fillibuster proof majority for a National Marriage Equality law. It’s basis would be ruling interstate commerce — in order to insure a mobile labor force, marriage licenses would have to be recognized and granted for couples in all 50 states. But, aside from the basis, the important thing is that, doing so probably wouldn’t happen until April or May 2014, and that particular timing could probably put a huge dent in the modern Republican Party. See, if the Senate passes the bill, John Boehner has to decide to put the bill on the House Calendar. If Boehner puts it on the calendar — and especially if it passes, but even if it doesn’t — that will alienate evangelicals, who would first walk in Nov 2014 (possibly losing the House for the GOP), and then they could split to a third party (as many leaders have threatened to) in advance of 2016. On the other hand, if Boehner fails to put it on the calendar, he may keep evangelicals short term, but he’ll further alienate the 75% of under 30-year-olds from the Republican party, perhaps losing an entire generation, and, after 10 years or so, delivering the GOP into rump-status as a party. Good fun.

  5. rerutled says:

    It’s too late to try to repeal DOMA.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    And husky men…

  7. Jonathan Hinkle says:

    Wikipedia keeps its list of supporters quite up to date, along with a handy map of where the Senators and Representatives are from.

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    Good, it’s never too late to try, at least try, to repeal DOMA.

    Democrats have never even tried.

  9. vejo says:

    I feel well-informed about how the Senate stands on this issue. It would be nice to have a scorecard (with updates such as this) for the House as well!

  10. BeccaM says:

    No, she never left the GOP. What she did, after Joe Miller beat her in the GOP primaries, was to run as a write-in candidate. The first to win a Senate election thus in over 50 years.

  11. Julien Pierre says:

    She was elected as an Independent . Is she still a Republican ?

  12. BeccaM says:

    I think so. Just consider how Marco Rubio has been forced to disavow supporting his own immigration bill.

  13. nicho says:

    I haven’t been paying that much attention, but are the GOP still required to be as doctrinally rigid as they were in the days of Tom DeLay and Karl Rove?

  14. nicho says:

    But man-husky households are quite prevalent. :-)

  15. cole3244 says:

    sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps backward, that’s con 101.

  16. BeccaM says:

    That’s how I view it, too. The GOPers now are, for the most part, not allowed to stray from their established hyper-regressive dogmas and irrational positions, especially in certain areas of politics.

    Or, even more to the point, can occasionally say they support a moderate position, but when it comes time to vote or break or support a filibuster, they return to lockstep loyalty.

  17. Naja pallida says:

    True… but Alaska is one of those states that has a pretty strong streak of people who just want to be left to their own devices, despite what one might generally glean from their politicians. Openly gay households have increased significantly in Alaska in the last few years, and that’s probably not because there has been an influx of gay people moving there for the scenery. More are just feeling comfortable enough to admit it.

  18. BeccaM says:

    Possible correction: “Openly gay households.”

    We’re used to flying under the radar in states and locales where we’re not welcome nor protected by law.

  19. dcinsider says:

    But it moves in the right direction, mostly.

  20. Naja pallida says:

    Your theory hinges on one problem the Republican party has: Pandering to its base. It is really a significant step to go against the flow in Republican politics these days. I just don’t see anyone standing up saying “Look, I’m not a Teabagger nut job! Vote for me because I am sensible!” Even though, given their current situation, you’d think that would be the primary narrative going into the mid-term elections.

  21. cole3244 says:

    dragging another gop pol into the present, progress is slow in america.

  22. Drew2u says:

    Here’s how I see it: The Supreme Court is poised to release their decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA. The early Republican adopters are the politically smart ones, possibly ones that are safe in their districts. The last hold-outs will be the same teabagged wingnuttia that are in swing districts or have legitimate primary threats.
    Come 2016, if most of them have turned around by that point, the Republicans will start beating the equality drum – not in pride or humanitarianism, but to point to the last holdouts of their own party and say, “See, we are not [THEM]. Despite what we personally and religiously believe, AMERICA is founded on FREEDOMS, so we are TOTALLY NOT those teabaggers over there.”
    As for the last holdouts, they get the recognition of “Fighting for our [their] religion” and become political martyrs – similar to how the newly elected 2012 Republican crowd are getting their ‘anti-Obamacare’ cred because that’s apparently the only thing Boehner is capable of bringing to a vote.

  23. S1AMER says:

    It’s worth noting that, unlike the other two Republican senators, she doesn’t have a gay kid (Portman) and hasn’t had an empathy-arousing strike (Kirk). There are, of course, various cynical motives one can ascribe to her new position but, mostly, I’ll give her credit for looking at a calendar and noting the century.

    Whatever. Thank you, Senator.

  24. dcinsider says:

    Good for her. Gutsy. She remains the anti-Palin from Alaska.

  25. Naja pallida says:

    This is actually kind of surprising, because gay households don’t even make up 1% of Alaska’s demographics, so she really has no political reason to support marriage equality. Maybe an inkling of reality is seeping into a few Republican brains.

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