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Lowey, Citing Evolution of Views, Assails DOMA

The lower Hudson Valley congresswoman who voted for DOMA in 1996 says her views have changed. Rep. Eliot Engel did not vote for DOMA.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) was one of several politicians and activists calling for the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in White Plains Wednesday morning.

Lowey spoke from City Hall's front steps, saying "any American should be able to walk into city halls like this one and marry the person they love."

"It is unacceptable and wrong for the government to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, and that is what the DOMA does," she added. "It must be overturned. It is time for marriage equality in America."

The law, passed in 1996, defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and prevents same-sex couples from receiving several federal benefits.

Lowey voted in favor of the law 17 years ago.

"[But] my views have evolved," she said Wednesday, standing with White Plains mayor Tom Roach and a slew of LGBT activists. "Frankly, the views of most Americans have changed for the better."

Lowey said she has been married for 50 years, and wants same-sex couples to have access to the same federal benefits her and her husband have.

The Supreme Court is currently assessing the constitutionality of DOMA.

Rep. Eliot Engel, who represents New Rochelle in Congress, issued a statement after Wednesday's oral arguments in the Supreme Court.

"In 1996, I voted against DOMA, one of only 67 House Members to do so. This law was a huge mistake then, and remains one today," he said. "I have repeatedly cosponsored a repeal of DOMA and the arguments at the Supreme Court today will hopefully lead to the law being struck down making repeal a moot point.

"The federal government should not be in the business of discrimination and the suppression of benefits and rights," Engel said. "I am hopeful we are witnessing the last days of this ill-conceived law."

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