Yesterday, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski became the third sitting Republican senator to publicly support marriage equality, in an eloquent op-ed that details her lunch with a lesbian couple whom she nominated as "Angels in Adoption":
They arrived in Washington, DC, a military family who had opened their doors to not one child but four siblings to make sure that these sisters and brother had the simplest gift you can give a child: a home together... I think of them often, as everything our nation should encourage.
I bring them up because the partners were two women who had first made the decision to open their home to provide foster care to the eldest child in 2007. Years later – and after a deployment abroad with the Alaska National Guard for one of them – they embraced the joy and sacrifice of four adopted children living under the same roof, with smiles, laughter, movie nights, parent-teacher conferences and runny noses.
Yet despite 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. After 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 – 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.
I think my embittered heart just grew six sizes (once for each member of that beauty Alaskan family).
Murkowski joins 53 senators — 50 Democrats and two other Republicans, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, in backing gay marriage. Her reversal of opinion comes days before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Defense of Marriage act and on California's Prop 8.
"Why should the federal government be telling adults who love one another that they cannot get married, simply because they happen to be gay?... What difference does it make to anybody else’s life?" writes Senator Murkowski. All very good questions.
According to a statement from Human Rights Campaign's president Chad Griffin:
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.
And now I think a little bit of that tide is dribbling out of the corner of my eye.
"Lisa Murkowski Becomes Third GOP Senator To Support Gay Marriage" [TPM]
Image via AP.