Murkowski 'evolving' on same-sex marriage
March 28th, 2013
02:24 PM ET
2 years ago

Murkowski 'evolving' on same-sex marriage

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said her views on same-sex marriage are "evolving" and she's considering her stance on the issue "very closely,' according to a local newspaper in her state.

Her comments come nearly two weeks after Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio became the only sitting Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage. If Murkowski does in fact have a change of heart, she would become the second.

Meanwhile, a small swarm of Democrats in the Senate voiced support for the issue earlier this week as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on cases involving the right for same-sex couples to legally wed.

"I think it's important to acknowledge that there is a change afoot in this country in terms of how marriage is viewed," Murkowski said Wednesday after addressing a chamber of commerce event in an Anchorage suburb, according to the Chugiak-Eagle River Star.

She spoke further on the topic with Alaska Public Media.

"I think you are seeing a change in attitude, a change in tolerance," she said. "And an acceptance that what marriage should truly be about is a lasting, loving committed relationship with respect to the individual."

The senator, now in her third term, said she'll make her decision after talking to constituents. In 1998, Alaska became one of the first of now-29 states to pass an amendment to its constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Murkowski backed similar proposals on the federal level in 2004 and 2006.

"It may be that Alaska will come to revisit its position on gay marriage, and as a policy maker I am certainly reviewing that very closely," she said.

Pressed further on her stance, she said it was "evolving," the newspaper reported.

"The term 'evolving view' has been perhaps overused, but I think it is an appropriate term for me to use," she said.

President Barack Obama, who did not personally support same-sex marriage as a 2008 presidential candidate, famously used the term to describe his shifting stance in October 2010. Less than two years later–in May 2012-he announced his full support.

As for why Murkowski is considering a change in position, she pointed to her two young sons, who she says give her puzzled looks when she asks them for their views on same-sex marriage.

"(They) kinda give me one of those looks like, 'Gosh mom, why are you even asking that question?'," she said.

Her office in Washington confirmed her comments reported by the local media outlets, but added she has no plans to make any announcements on the issue soon.

Asked how long the senator has been changing in her views, her communications director, Matthew Felling, said "she's been watching the ongoing conversation across Alaska and the nation."

Earlier this week, the junior senator from Alaska, Democrat Mark Begich, publicly supported same-sex marriage on his Facebook page.

Republican Rep. Don Young, the state's sole U.S. congressman, personally believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, but ultimately thinks it should be decided by the states, according to a statement his office provided the Alaska Dispatch this week.

– CNN's Shannon Travis contributed to this report.


Filed under: Alaska • Lisa Murkowski • Senate
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Rob

    I really think many of the elected officials in the various levels of government, are fine with gay marriage but are afraid to break from their party on this issue.

    March 28, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. just sayin

    The senator, now in her third term, said she'll make her decision after talking to constituents. In 1998, Alaska became one of the first of now-29 states to pass an amendment to its constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
    ----

    sure doesn't sound like she is doing her job of representing the people of alaska if she supports gay marriage.

    March 28, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Mikey

    @Rob – It's not necessarily the "party", as in the official party leadership. It is more the very vocal, right wing extreme of the GOP, who vote disproportionately in primaries, which tend to have low turnouts. In the GOP, the lunatics are running the asylum.

    March 28, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. evilleclarks

    In other words, she's pretty much unprincipled

    March 28, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    Uh oh, someone used the word "evolving" when asked about same-sex marriage. Where is the GOPer's outrage? That's right – she's a Repub, it's okay.

    March 28, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    The senator, now in her third term, said she'll make her decision after talking to constituents. In 1998, Alaska became one of the first of now-29 states to pass an amendment to its constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
    --

    sure doesn't sound like she is doing her job of representing the people of alaska if she supports gay marriage.
    ****************************
    In spite of the fact the GOP in AK depends more on federal handouts than anywhere else in the country, they pride themselves on being left alone. This falls into that viewpoint quite nicely. Just because a portion of the GOP wants to outdo the Taliban in intrding in peoples' lives does not mean all the GOP feels that way.

    March 28, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Mikey

    @just sayin – 1998 was 15 years ago. You don't think attitudes may have changed a bit? Everyone now under 33 was not voting then and many of the older votes of 1998 are not part of the current electorate. Let me ask you a question. In 1958, an overwhelming majority of the public was agains interracial marriage. Was it a mistake to change the laws? You are on the wrong side of history.

    March 28, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. chilly g

    im a black american and my position has change on this subject, now i still believe a marrage should be between a
    man and a woman but i feel you have to make your own decision and i respect that so get marrie if you want it
    do not matter to me one way or the other.

    March 28, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    just sayin

    The senator, now in her third term, said she'll make her decision after talking to constituents. In 1998, Alaska became one of the first of now-29 states to pass an amendment to its constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
    --

    sure doesn't sound like she is doing her job of representing the people of alaska if she supports gay marriage.

    *******************
    15 years is a long time: do you think their views might have changed?

    March 28, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Write down the date. A conservative Republican has expressed a belief in the possibility of Evolution.

    In othe news, Rep. Murkowski has expressed change that she can believe in.

    March 28, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. John

    I support marriage for gays and lesbians. Why shouldn't they be as miserable as the rest of us?

    March 28, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. just sayin

    The Real Tom Paine
    15 years is a long time: do you think their views might have changed?
    -–

    well maybe she should ask the people of alaska first, before saying anything? have there been efforts to repeal it in alaska? not that i have heard.

    doing it this way only makes her look like she is trying to jump on the gay bandwagon.

    March 28, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This just confirms what I said in a previous post. These politicians don't do what's politically correct until the President comes out in support of it first. Is it just coincidence she used the term "evolve?"

    March 28, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. clarke

    As a person ages they do see things differently and have more of an opened mind to the 14th Amendment.

    March 28, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Thomas

    She could care less as long as the money keeps rolling in .

    March 28, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Murkowski should jump on the train before it leaves the station. The Republican leadership is about five years behind the majority of Americans. They should have learned from the 2012 presidential election that ignoring poll numbers is a dangerous thing to do.

    March 28, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    just sayin' wrote:

    well maybe she should ask the people of alaska first, before saying anything? have there been efforts to repeal it in alaska? not that i have heard.

    doing it this way only makes her look like she is trying to jump on the gay bandwagon.
    ----------------–
    How do you know that she didn't? Trust me, I don't have to prove that she did. You brought this up. It's your argument with nothing to back it up with. It goes get pretty cold up in Alaska, though.

    March 28, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. wingside

    My views on voting for her again are also evolving as well.

    March 28, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |