Former Iowa state Senator Jeff Angelo, who once backed a gay marriage ban amendment, will helm a new group for conservatives who support gay marriage.

Angelo is expected to unveil his new group Republicans for Freedom next week, the Des Moines Register reported.

“This debate centers around the devaluation of the lives of a select group of people,” Angelo told lawmakers at a public hearing earlier this year. “At its worst, we are being asked to believe that our gay friends are involved in a nefarious agenda. The outcome of which, supposedly, is the unraveling of society itself.”

In 2006, the former Senator co-sponsored an amendment that sought to define marriage as a heterosexual union in the Iowa Constitution. A successful effort would have prevented the Iowa Supreme Court from legalizing the institution in 2009.

And ironically, Angelo credits getting to know married gay couples for his change of heart.

“I don't think this debate reflects the character of Iowans, the culture of Iowa,” he told the paper. “Iowa is culturally a state that is very welcoming, that celebrates its people, is very protective of its people.”

A Gallup poll released last week found that only 28 percent of Republicans support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. A Public Policy Polling survey found even less support for marriage among GOPers, only 12%. However, 39% percent of respondents said they support civil unions for gay couples.