Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich's opposition to gay rights has softened, Candace Gingrich-Jones, 45, recently said of her half-brother.

The day before the former House Speaker faced a large exodus of campaign staffers, Gingrich-Jones, who is openly lesbian, told The Huffington Post that her brother had changed, and gave his third wife of 11-years, Callista, credit for the alterations.

“When he was speaker, he had no qualms about talking about why workplace protection is a bad idea and how gays aren't families,” she said. “It is possible that Callista has had a moderating effect … she's possibly gotten LGBT issues to no longer be a red meat issue for him politically.”

“I'm pissed but I get it,” she said, referring to Gingrich's financial and political support of a successful effort to oust three of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices whose 2009 ruling legalized gay marriage in the state. “I don't think that there is anything that he does that isn't well thought-out and doesn't have a purpose behind it. It's Iowa. The first caucus state.”

Gingrich-Jones is a gay activist who works for the Human Rights Campaign.