House Republican candidate Carl DeMaio on Monday released an ad in which he declares himself to be a “proud gay American.”

DeMaio is vying to represent the people of California's 52nd congressional district, which includes parts of San Diego. The campaign of his Democratic opponent, Representative Scott Peters, has attempted to label DeMaio as divisive.

“He is trying to portray himself as a moderate and he's not,” Peters said. “The problem with the country right now – and in the Republican Party – is we're locked up by the tea party. They're hyper-political, hyper-partisan and hyper-idealogical and Carl would fit right in with that.”

DeMaio fights back against that characterization in Proud American.

“As a proud gay American, I've been called a lot of things in my life,” DeMaio says in the 30-second ad. “But a tea party extremist? Nothing could be further from the truth.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

DeMaio is possibly also pushing back against a coalition of groups opposed to his campaign and that of Massachusetts Republican Richard Tisei, who is gay and married.

Last month, the groups targeted both campaigns as well as a third Republican candidate, Monica Wehby, who is looking to unseat Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. Wehby highlighted her support for marriage equality in a television ad, making her the first Republican Senate candidate to run such an ad.

(Related: GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby endorses gay marriage in new ad.)

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), FRC Action and CitizenLink called on GOP leaders to distance themselves from the three candidates.

On Saturday, House Speaker John Boehner will appear at a private fundraising event for DeMaio's campaign. Boehner has also endorsed Tisei's run.

While open about his sexuality, DeMaio has faced criticism in the past over placing a low priority on issues related to gay rights.