John Avlon for The Daily Beast: Lisa Murkowski’s Declaration of Independence

June 20th, 2013

1371726005615.cachedThe Daily Beast
by John Avlon
June 20, 2013

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski became the third Republican U.S. Senator to support same sex marriage on Wednesday, just days before the Supreme Court is set to decide on its constitutionality. But what’s really significant about Murkowski’s decision is the argument she made in an Op-Ed, rooted squarely in family values.

In explaining her evolution on the issue, Murkowski told the story of an Alaskan military couple who visited her on Capitol Hill for lunch with their four foster children. The kicker was that the couple was comprised of two women.

As Murkowsi explained: “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.”

Amen. But here’s why her argument really mattered—it is a conservative values based case for what has been the least traditional family arrangement imaginable in the past. It reflects the sea change in society that is still underway. And it is an argument that might not just eventually win over more conservative converts; it might win over a strategically placed Republican Justice.

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