Now out of Senate, Snowe supports same-sex marriage
April 5th, 2013
01:47 PM ET
10 years ago

Now out of Senate, Snowe supports same-sex marriage

(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.

Filed under: Olympia Snowe • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    I voted for the president twice and would do it all again but this is one subject, I think he'll regret touching. Marriage was defined as God wanted it to be between one woman and one man. He did not ask for our opinions, political favors or feedback on the subject. It was CLEARLY DEFINED. Sadly, I believe the president may have bought needless suffering upon himself and his family for this action.

    April 5, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. PJ

    The Republican Party threw away one of their best Senators. Too bad they are so fixated on hate that they
    couldn't see how good she was for them. They don't tolerate reasonable people. Just look at their
    so-called "rising stars" and you know how far they have fallen into the pits of craziness.

    April 5, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. PaulCat

    They always have a lot to say once they're no longer in office. Snowe, didn't you bail out?

    April 5, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. MTATL67

    She was a voice of reason on the hill. Which the Republicans sorely need right now.

    April 5, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. rs

    This is part of the sea change awaiting the GOP. Their own membership is too affraid of their base, yet they can't bring themselves to try to moderate the ever-rightward spin of their party. The GOP in essense stands for nothing now. They have become post-policy, merely reacting only to current events and any action by the duly elected President of the United STates. And, therein lies the problem: in obstructing the President (even when he embraces Republican goals, policies or ideas), the GOP essentially attacts America. They have done NOTHING for this nation since the catastrophic Bush Presidency- and frankly most Americans are sick of it. The GOP spends its days developing ever more twisted laws on social issues, undermining Civil and Voting rights, and the ever crazy NRA. They fail to notice that they are losing member and public support by the boat load.

    April 5, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |

    @Woman in California:

    God defined marriage? Please refer us to your source. By the way, the bible doesn't count as a source. Please proceed.

    April 5, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. DW

    @Woman in California: You have your interpretation of what God wants, others have different ones. The way we get along in our large and diverse country is by not legislating anyone's religious beliefs. We can all worship (or not) according to our own conscience, as long as we do not infringe on other people's civil rights. It's a beautiful system and has saved us from the religious wars that have torn up so many other parts of the planet.

    April 5, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. steve

    Day late dollar short. Who cares what she thinks now.

    April 5, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. just sayin

    gay marriage is not evolution, it is devolution. lefties aren't happy with just destroying the country, they want to destroy everything.

    April 5, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Bill

    So. You now 'support' a law that the voters already approved?

    How cutting edge, Ms. Snowe.

    April 5, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Sheep Lover

    When I can marry my Bessie, our country will have truly evolved. Stop the discrimination, stop intefering with our pursuit of happiness. Don't be baaaaaaaad people.

    April 5, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Oh look, another johnny-come-lately coward who can now say what she really thinks because re-election isn't interfering with her integrity.

    April 5, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Nigel Patterson

    So this just serves to confirm that governments don't lead, they follow (far behind).

    April 5, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Nigel Patterson

    So this just serves to confim that governments don't lead, they follow (far behind majority public opinion).

    April 5, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. Keith in SoJax

    @ "just sayin"
    Christianity is devolution. righties aren't happy with just destroying the country, they want to destroy everything.

    Did my post do anything to pursuade you that your wrong? For the record, yours didn't influence my opinion either.

    April 5, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    @Woman In California: We're not a theocracy; your interpretation of God is a religious one and does not belong in our laws.

    April 5, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    @DW: "It's a beautiful system and has saved us from the religious wars that have torn up so many other parts of the planet."

    But if the GOP had its way, we WOULD have a religious war here in the U.S. – as yet another distraction from their failed policies.

    April 5, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. ja

    i wish we had the same support for stricter gun control laws

    April 5, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. Ed1

    Wow next thing you will see is that she supported Obamacare that's right she did and that was the vote they needed glad you are gone from the Senate your fifteen minutes are up.

    April 5, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    Coward! Where were you when you could really have done something?

    April 5, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Boytjie

    @Woman In California
    Marriage was defined as God wanted it to be between one woman and one man.
    One man and one woman, huh? How many wives did Abraham and Issac have? 2 each. David? At least 8. Gedieon? Many. King Solomon? 700.

    April 5, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Tea Party Thomas

    Republicans read your bible before you support gays getting married. GOD DOESN'T SUPPORT THE GAY LIFE STYLE. The fact is gays are going to hell.

    April 5, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. v_mag

    Woman in California: " It was CLEARLY DEFINED."
    The obvious question is: Where? I assume you are using the Bible as your reference, but in it you will find Jacob married to Rachel and Leah, and there are many other examples of polygamy. How is that a clear definition? Is there some dictionary in the Bible that I never read where it says: "marriage: a physical, religious, and social relationship between 1 man and 1 woman"?

    April 5, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. v_mag

    Tea Party Thomas: "The fact is gays are going to hell."
    See, that's the problem with you guys. You always say "fact" when you mean "I think" or "it's my opinion" or "I wish it were like that". Basically, you wouldn't recognize a real fact if it bit you on the butt.

    April 5, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |