Joseph Backholm, a leader in the fight to repeal a gay marriage law in Washington state, believes people support such unions to prove they do not hate gay people.

Backholm made his comments during a panel discussion on marriage at Values Voter Summit, which is sponsored by the Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC).

“People support same-sex marriage not because they think it's a good idea but as a way to prove they don't hate gay people,” Backholm told attendees. “Those ideas as obviously not logically connected. Culturally we've done a very poor job of thinking about this issue.”

“The only reason it's getting support is because, again, people are trying to demonstrate the fact that they don't hate gay people.”

“Since the Olympics the other side has been running television ads talking about how nice gay people are, why can't we be the same and we really are nice descent people and we live in your neighborhood and all that kind of stuff, which really from our perspective isn't relevant to the issue. But we must be able to penetrate that narrative. And if we have the ability to penetrate that, remind people that we already do treat same-sex couples fairly, that there is no inequality, we will win this thing because in people's guts they know that marriage is between men and women, that mothers and fathers matter, and that over the next 100 years that family structure matters far more than anything else.”

Also appearing on the panel were John Helmberger, CEO of Minnesota Family Council, Carroll Conley, executive director of Maine Family Policy Council, and Derek McCoy, executive director of Maryland Marriage Alliance.

(Related: Mitt Romney says he'll defend marriage in Values Voter Summit message.)

All four men appeared to concede that gay marriage foes were increasingly playing defense on the issue. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)