06/06/2012 05:49 pm ET Updated Jun 07, 2012

Steny Hoyer's Daughter Comes Out As Lesbian

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) daughter publicly came out of the closet as a lesbian on Wednesday in an interview published by the Washington Blade.

"My father, as you know, just came out in support of gay marriage," his daughter, Stefany Hoyer Hemmer, told the Blade, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper that focuses on LGBT issues. "The momentum in Maryland right now for the adoption of the gay marriage law is fast-paced. I'm 43 years of age, and I've been gay my whole life and I just figured this is a good time to lend my name to the cause."

Hemmer's father was, briefly, the lone top Democratic congressional leader not in favor of same-sex marriage. Hoyer waited two days after President Obama announced his support for the measure -- and one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) followed suit -- to publicly announce his support of gay marriage. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had previously supported gay marriage, while Hoyer had favored only civil unions for same-sex couples.

Hemmer said that she first broached the topic with her mother before coming out to her father in 2003 by showing up to his house with a girlfriend.

"He was very welcoming," she told the Blade. "Of course, my sister had prepped him. He was not the least bit shaken or upset and very pleasantly just a nice guy. He's always been respectful of my privacy, so unless I initiate a conversation with him about pretty much anything that's private, he doesn't get into my personal business, which I respect. But he's been great."

Hemming said she partially decided to come out to the broader public so she could help advocate for Maryland's same-sex marriage law, which will likely face a referendum this fall. The law, which was signed in March, made Maryland the eighth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

A majority of likely Maryland voters support the law, according to a poll released May 24 by Public Policy Polling. But the Maryland Marriage Alliance, a coalition working to defeat the law, said last week that it collected 113,000 voter signatures for the referendum -- more than double what is required to put it on the ballot.

Hemmer said that she expects her father to also fight against the referendum.

"I think I will initially be an adjunct to him," she told the newspaper. "I will go places with him and maybe speak, but I think that role will evolve. Basically, I’m here and what do you think I can do for you."

Below, a slideshow of reactions to Obama's same-sex marriage views:

Politicians React To Obama On Same-Sex Marriage