House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, is supporting openly gay Richard Tisei's bid to represent the people of Massachusetts' Sixth District.

The 49-year-old Tisei announced in a 2009 Boston Globe interview before he was named Charlie Baker's gubernatorial running mate that he is gay. Baker was defeated by Democrat Deval Patrick.

Two years later, Tisei is running for Congress and he has the backing of House Republican leaders, CNN reported.

“They just happen to be good candidates in districts that are winnable for us,” Boehner told reporters.

Other candidates being helped by the party include a black woman from Utah and an Indian-American from California.

“The country's counting on this crop of candidates to continue the wave that came in in 2010 to change America, to change Washington,” Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon told the candidates during a recent meeting.

House Republicans continue to pursue anti-gay legislation and, at the direction of Boehner, House lawyers are defending in at least 12 cases the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 federal law which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

(Related: Federal appeals court: Gay marriage ban DOMA unconstitutional.)

Tisei, a former Massachusetts state senator, insisted in a CNN interview that his background made him a good candidate for the title of first openly gay Republican Congressman.

“Being gay in Massachusetts is no problem, being a Republican is a little more difficult,” Tisei said. “In a way I'm well prepared for this, because having come from Massachusetts I've seen the way that people have shifted over time.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)