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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Is 'Evolving' On Marriage Equality

By Sunnivie Brydum

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters her view on marriage equality is "evolving," after addressing the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.

"The term 'evolving view' has been perhaps overused," Murkowski told the Chugiak-Eagle River Star. "But I think it is an appropriate term for me to use." 

Murkowski, a centrist Republican, expanded on her comments in a conversation with Alaska Public Radio, from which Zack Ford at ThinkProgress LGBT posted audio. 

"I think you are seeing a change in attitude, change in tolerance, I guess," said Murkowski. "And an acceptance that what marriage should truly be about is a lasting, loving, committed relationship with respect to the individual… It may be that Alaska will come to revisit its position on gay marriage, and as a policymaker I am certainly reviewing that very closely."

Ford notes Murkowski's mixed voting record on LGBT issues — in 2010, she voted for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and in 2009, she voted in favor of the federal Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but in 2004, she supported a proposed federal amendment to ban marriage equality in the U.S. Constitution. 

Alaska's constitution currently prohibits same-sex marriages, but the state's second Senator, Democrat Mark Begich, recently reaffirmed his support for marriage equality. 

Some advocates believe Murkowski's comments signal her eventual support for marriage equality when the political climate allows her to express such support. Jeremy Hooper at Good As You not-so-subtly titled his post about Murkowski's comments "Fact: Sen. Murkowski totally going to support equality once polls tell her she can comfortably do so."

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