Paul E. Singer, the hedge fund manager who is leading an effort to increase support for gay marriage among Republicans, argues that it is a conservative value.

Singer, 68, is the founder of the New York-based Elliott Management Corporation, and is considered among the most important Republican donors nationwide.

Last year, he helped launch the American Unity PAC with an initial $1 million donation. The Super PAC's mission is to encourage Republican candidates to support marriage equality by lending financial support.

Its new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, has already spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where a marriage bill has cleared House and Senate panels and awaits floor action in both chambers. In the House, where the measure looks like a long-shot, no Republican has yet to endorse the effort.

According to an AP report, the group has spent $50,000 on lobbying since March in Rhode Island, Indiana, West Virginia and Utah.

Last month, all 5 Republican members of the Rhode Island Senate endorsed passage of a marriage bill, marking the first time any state party caucus has been unanimously in support of marriage equality.

(Related: Gay groups cheer Rhode Island gay marriage; And a video, too.)

Singer, who is straight but has a gay son who married his husband in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay nuptials, told The Washington Post that he believes the principles behind such unions are based on conservatism.

“Our job is to let them [Republican politicians] know they have plenty of like-minded friends, activists and party leaders who will stand with them”on the issue, Singer said in an email to the paper. “Ultimately, this fight is about basic equality and individual freedom – both conservative principles. But for those who remain unconvinced, state-by-state evidence that marriage equality does no harm and actually strengthens families and the institution of marriage should put doubts to rest and pave the way for more conservatives to join this growing movement.”