In a cover story for gay glossy The Advocate, Rev. Ted Haggard now says he favors gay marriage.

Haggard is the evangelical pastor who ran afoul of his Denver congregation after admitting to a three-year pay-for-sex affair with male prostitute Mike Jones. Immediately after Jones reveled their sexual association in 2006, Haggard denied being gay, saying only that he had committed “sexual immorality.” Since that time, Haggard has said he's undergone intensive counseling. On February 6, 2007, Tim Ralph pronounced Haggard “cured,” adding that Haggard is “completely heterosexual.”

The married father of five says everyone – including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people – is welcome at his church, St. James in Colorado Springs.

Haggard supported the 2006 ballot question that placed a gay marriage ban in Colorado's Constitution, but he now says he favors allowing gay couples to marry.

“The word marriage is a big deal to people of faith,” Haggard told the magazine. “We've made it sacred. That's why I believe that churches, synagogues, mosques and temples should have total freedom to have whatever types of unions they believe is godly.”

“But I think that we as a democratic society, as a constitutional republic – if we don't respect individual civil liberties, then we're making a horrific mistake. The church is in the early stages of another 'the Earth is flat' crisis. I say to all religious people that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry on the subject. Or we're going to be embarrassed in another 10 or 20 years,” he added.

Haggard, however, has previously said no gay or lesbian couples will be allowed to marry in his church.