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

Angelo's Iowa Republicans for Freedom will hold its first press conference on Wednesday at 11AM at the Iowa Statehouse.

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 three years later.

Speaking to the Iowa Independent, Angelo argued that the conservative principles of limited government and freedom are consistent with supporting marriage equality.

“You have to start somewhere,” Angelo told the paper. “Where I'm starting is to say that I believe it is actually within the principles espoused by conservatives to support same-sex marriage.”

He added that he believes he'll receive the most resistance from members of his own party.

“One of the things that we are going to come up against is that people, conservative Republicans who are in favor of marriage equality, get intimidated at local meetings,” Angelo said. “They get told they aren’t really a Republican if they support it. So they just stop showing up for meetings and they stop speaking out in favor of equality because they don’t want their commitment to Republican principles to be questioned. … I’m not comfortable with that. The intimidation that’s been happening is a big problem.”

Angelo first spoke up on the issue as lawmakers earlier this year were debating a measure aimed at overturning the court's decision by placing a gay marriage ban in the Iowa Constitution.

“This debate centers around the devaluation of the lives of a select group of people,” Angelo told lawmakers at a public hearing. “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.”

A large majority (72%) of Republicans oppose gay marriage, according to a recent Gallup poll. However, a recent Public Policy Polling survey found a majority (51%) support some sort of legal recognition for gay couples (12% marriage, 39% civil unions).