With the U.S. Capitol in the background, a person waves a rainbow flag as they participant in a rally in support of the LGBTQIA+ community at Freedom Plaza, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Washington. The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday, July, 19, 2022, to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid concerns that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access could jeopardize other rights criticized by many conservative Americans. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)

With the U.S. Capitol in the background, a person waves a rainbow flag as they participant in a rally in support of the LGBTQIA+ community at Freedom Plaza, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Washington. The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday, July, 19, 2022, to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid concerns that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access could jeopardize other rights criticized by many conservative Americans. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)

Alaska’s senators and a Senate hopeful talk same-sex marriage bill

Each indicate differing stances on the topic.

The push to codify same-sex marriage under federal law is making headway as nearly 50 Republicans in the House joined Democrats in voting for a same-sex marriage bill,which passed through the House on Tuesday. The push follows closely behind the controversial Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, an almost 50-year-old ruling that granted protections for abortion, along with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion asserting that the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its previous ruling on same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

[Pressure on Senate GOP after same-sex marriage passes House]

For the gay-marriage bill to make its way to a final vote in the U.S. Senate, the legislation would need support from both political parties to hit the 60 vote count to avoid filibuster. There is a current 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and if there is a tie in votes, vice president Kamala Harris would cast the deciding vote. The two Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, shared their thoughts with the Empire along with Republican and Senate hopeful Kelly Tshibaka.

“I can tell you Senator Murkowski has supported marriage equality for years,” Said Karina Borger, Sen. Murkowski’s communications director in an email response. “Senator Murkowski will review and consider the House-passed bill and the Senate version recently introduced by Senators Baldwin and Collins.”

Murkowski has a record of supporting of same-sex marriage since her 2013 announcement in an opinion piece in which she wrote, “I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of peoples’ lives – while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”

She is joined by a group of four other Republican senators thought to have indicated they would will likely support the House-passed same-sex marriage bill.

Kelly Tshibaka, former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration and a Republican running against Murkowski for U.S. Senate, said in a statement provided by a spokesperson the bill making its way through Congress is unnecessary.

“The Supreme Court ruled seven years ago that the 14th Amendment protects same-sex marriages, so it’s unnecessary to have redundant legislation from Congress. This legislation is intended to distract voters from the failed Biden Administration and disastrous voting records of entrenched incumbents, like Lisa Murkowski, who are up for re-election,” Tshibaka said.

Tshibaka’s opinions on the topic were also notably expressed during her time at Harvard Law School where she wrote expressing her personal belief that marriage should be between members of the opposite sex and wrote in support of an “ex-gay” Christian organization that promoted “conversion therapy.”

In a 2001 student newspaper article, she wrote that through Christianity people can “work through the process of coming out of homosexuality.” Last year, Tshibaka told CNN that she no longer holds that point of view. She added that while she believes marriage is between a man and a woman, “the Supreme Court has ruled same-sex marriage is the law of the land.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, remains non-committal on the bill.

“The senator is evaluating the legislation passed in the House and is waiting to see what the majority leader puts on the floor. As he has stated in the past, he respects the court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges,” said Ben Dietderich, Sen. Sullivan’s press secretary in an email response.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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