A former aide to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, on Wednesday urged GOP support for a proposed gay marriage bill in Minnesota.

Brian McClung served as deputy chief of staff to Pawlenty, who served two terms as governor.

McClung argued his case in an op-ed titled Minnesota GOP Should Back Same-Sex Marriage published in the Star Tribune.

“Supporting same-sex marriage is both the right thing to do and a political imperative for our party,” McClung wrote. “Recent polling shows Republicans are viewed as out of touch, stodgy and opposed to change. Unfortunately, that's because it's been too often true as of late.”

“[A] staggering 80 percent of young Americans believe same-sex couples deserve the freedom to marry.”

“If Republicans don't engage these young people on our core issues of less government, more freedom, greater personal responsibility, more opportunity and true entrepreneurship, we run the risk of losing their support for decades,” he added.

McClung's endorsement runs counter to the opinion of this former boss.

During a brief stint as a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Pawlenty stated that marriage equality is a “bad idea” and endorsed a federal constitutional amendment banning such unions.

“We have courts who have demonstrated they think they know better than the people on our statutes. And they feel that they should insert their personal or political views into these matters. And the only way to limit court excesses in that regard is to put it in our statutes and our Constitution,” Pawlenty said at the time.

The proposed marriage legislation has cleared House and Senate committees and awaits floor votes in both chambers.