(CNN) – Olympia Snowe, who after serving three terms in the U.S. Senate did not seek re-election last year, said in an interview Friday that as public opinion has shifted on same-sex marriage, so have her views.
"I think obviously this has evolved over time on the whole issue for the whole country and the nations," Snowe, a moderate Republican, 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 said she supported Maine's provision permitting marriage between same-sex couples in November, a position she hasn't previously stated. That measure passed, making Maine one of nine U.S. states that allow same-sex marriage.
On Friday Snowe said she no longer supports the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law barring marriage between gays and lesbians that she voted for in 1996. The law is currently being contested at the U.S. Supreme Court.
"It's up to the court now to make that decision, and depending on their decision I think ultimately other decisions will have to be made," Snowe said.
"The time has come," she continued. "I think what we're seeing is, I think, changing societal conventions, that ultimately you see the transformation of society's gradual thinking and evolving on issues. I think we're seeing those sea changes on this particular question."
During her time in the Senate, Snowe was a consistently moderate voice within the Republican Party. She has said the GOP is overly focused on social issues – like same-sex marriage and abortion – rather than on fiscal matters.