The New Haven-area gay community, which has long supported Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, is upset with her vote for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a bill to outlaw gay marriage.

DeLauro said it was a “mean-spirited” bill, but she said she voted for it because of her fundamental religious and social beliefs. DeLauro is a Roman Catholic.

“I hated casting the vote, but I would not change it,” she said last week at a forum at the New Haven Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

DeLauro said she would support civil unions for gay couples.

Her critics were not mollified.

“When she talks about her ‘beliefs,’ that’s another word for her prejudice in that area,” said Cyd Slotoroff, who works with Love Makes a Family, a group that advocates equality for gay couples.

Her Republican opponent, Richter Elser ’81, pointed out that DeLauro supports abortion rights, despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion.

Elser, who is gay, supports the rights of gays to form civil unions.

–Associated Press