Snowe voices support of same-sex marriage

Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, looks over the boxes of files packed for storage and moving in her offices in Washington, D.C. after she gave her farewell address to the Senate and the nation. Snowe retired after 34 years in Congress.
Scott Thistle | Sun Journal
Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, looks over the boxes of files packed for storage and moving in her offices in Washington, D.C. after she gave her farewell address to the Senate and the nation. Snowe retired after 34 years in Congress.
Posted April 05, 2013, at 2:38 p.m.
Last modified April 05, 2013, at 3:17 p.m.

As part of what she calls a “sea change,” a former Maine senator who once supported the Defense of Marriage Act now sides with advocates of same-sex marriage.

In a Friday interview with CNN, former Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe for the first time expressed her support for Maine’s same-sex marriage law and withdrew her support for 1996’s federal Defense of Marriage Act, which she voted in favor of while serving in the Senate.

“I think obviously this has evolved over time on the whole issue for the whole country and the nations,” Snowe told CNN. “We’ve seen a sea change in society’s whole attitude on this particular issue and it’s only natural for government to be responsive to those changes.”

Snowe, a moderate who won each of her three Senate races handily, shocked political observers when she announced in 2012 that she would not seek re-election. As she departed the Senate, she repeatedly bemoaned the “excessive political polarization in Washington” that she feels is keeping Congress from legislating successfully.

Maine’s current congressional delegation has been supportive of same-sex marriage. Maine’s two Democratic representatives — Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud — and Independent Sen. Angus King all signed a legal memo urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans the federal government from extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, did not sign the memo, but she has voted against two attempts at a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley told Rebekah Metzler, a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report who also writes a blog for the BDN.

“Sen. Collins believes this matter is best left up to the states, which have traditionally handled family law, and increasingly, the voters of states are choosing to legalize same-sex marriages as Maine did last fall,” Kelley told Metzler.

Read CNN ’s story about the interview here: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/05/now-out-of-senate-snowe-supports-same-sex-marriage/.

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