Murkowski's gay marriage views 'evolving'

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 12:30
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowsk (R-Alaska) talks to a constituent before entering the Bear Mountain Grill in Eagle River on Wednesday, March 27 in Eagle River, where she addressed the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said Wednesday that her views on gay marriage are "evolving" and that she's reviewing her stance on the issue "very closely."

"I think it's important to acknowledge that there is a change afoot in this country in terms of how marriage is viewed," said Alaska's senior senator, who has in the past voted to support proposed constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Murkowski's comments came following an address to the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce in which she touched on a variety of topics, including sequestration, the Senate's recently-passed budget and her efforts to end partisan gridlock in Congress.

When asked about same sex marriage — which is currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in two separate cases — Murkowski seemed to indicate a softening on her previous stance.

"I've got two young sons who, when I ask them and their friends how they feel about gay marriage, kinda give me one of those looks like, 'Gosh mom, why are you even asking that question?'"

When pressed to come out either for or against gay marriage, Murkwoski said her view is "evolving."

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

Murkowski said her position may depend on what she hears from her consitutents in Alaska, who in 1998 passed an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

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

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has come out in favor of gay marriage, while Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has said he's against it.

Murkowski said the the nation faces far bigger issues than who should be allowed to get married.

"We have so many issues in this country to focus on that worry us, that I question why there is such focus on the simple right of people to love whom they will," she said.

For a complete report on Murkowski's address to the chamber, see the April 4 edition of the Star.

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