(NBC NEWS) Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Wednesday that she supports legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the third GOP member of the Senate to endorse the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Days before the Supreme Court is set to issue decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Murkowski joined Republican Sens. Rob Portman, Ohio, and Mark Kirk, Ill., in supporting same-sex marriage.

“I am a life-long Republican because I believe in promoting freedom and limiting the reach of government,” Murkowski wrote in an op-ed explaining her decision. “When government does act, I believe it should encourage family values.  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.”

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