Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer has said his 1996 vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was “probably a mistake.”

Hoyer came out in favor of gay marriage in May, sixteen years after he supported DOMA, which forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

The 73-year-old Democrat is pushing to uphold a marriage equality law approved by Maryland lawmakers.

“I have, throughout my career, thought we should treat people equally,” Hoyer told the Baltimore Sun. “Like the president, I evolved into thinking marriage had a broader meaning.”

In 2003, Hoyer learned that his daughter, Stefany Hoyer Hemmer, now 43, is gay. She publicly announced her sexual orientation in June.

“I thought that if I came out, I could help push the effort forward,” Hemmer said of the issue in Maryland.

Hoyer said the issue was gaining support at a fast pace because “what people have seen is these are friends and neighbors and sisters and brothers and people you have a great deal of respect for.”

He added that he was largely influenced by Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out gay and the first to marry while holding office.

“In discussions with him, I determined how important legal recognition of that relationship, of marriage, was,” he said.