Lisa Murkowski makes it 51 senators in favor of same-sex marriage

In an Op-ed posted on her Senate website, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska today became the 51st member of the current U.S. Senate and the third Republican to support equal rights for same-sex couples who marry.

The two Republicans who preceded were Rob Portman (who made the decision after his own son came out as gay) and Mark Kirk of Illinois. When Kirk announced his change of position in April, the Huff Post said that made 50 senators who had announced support for marriage equality. So I take it Murkowski makes 51.

Amazing. I never expected to live long enough to see this.

Here are the first three paragraphs of Murkowski’s op-ed:

“Not too long ago, I had the honor of nominating an Alaskan family as ‘Angels in Adoption,’ a celebration of the selflessness shown by foster care families and those who adopt children.  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.  We had lunch together, and they shared their stories with me.  All the while, the children politely ate lunch and giggled as content youngsters do.  Given my daily hectic Senate schedule, it’s not often that I get to sit down with such a happy family during a workday – and 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.”

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