Gingrich said that he continues to personally oppose gay marriage and would vote against a referendum to permit the practice.

The former Speaker's stance differs from that of rival Rick Santorum, who has called for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The former Pennsylvania senator was protested by gay rights organizations at campaign stops he made in Washington state earlier this month.

"I think that at least from my perspective it tends to water down marriage instead of encouraging men and women to form healthy marriages, and that to me should be the objective of the government because that is in the best interests of our society," Santorum said in Washington earlier this month, according to the AP.

New Jersey recently rejected its own same-sex marriage measure. The state legislature sent Republican Gov. Chris Christie a bill that would allow for gay marriage. Christie vetoed that legislation, but he has encouraged supporters to put the measure up for a ballot referendum.

"Even though it’s against my belief on this, I’m willing to be governed on it," Christie said Thursday on MSNBC.