(CNN) – Asked how he plans to engage the gay community in his bid for president, Newt Gingrich on Tuesday told a voter he wouldn't be the right choice for those basing their decision on the issue of same-sex marriage.
"If that's the most important (issue) to you, then you should be for Obama," Gingrich told Scott Arnold, a man who identified himself as gay.
"Okay. I am, but thank you," Arnold replied.
The comment ended a rather cordial exchange between the two at a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Arnold, an adjunct professor at William Penn University, approached the former speaker, asking Gingrich how he would sway voters who disagreed with him on same-sex marriage.
"How do you plan to engage and get the hope of gay Americans and those who support them?" Arnold asked.
Gingrich replied saying he doesn't expect to get the backing from voters solely focused on changing the definition of marriage.
"And I accept that that's a reality," Gingrich said.
Gingrich has frequently taken a conservative line on the issue. Last week, he signed a pledge with the National Organization for Marriage, promising, among many things, to back a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and woman.
"On the other hand, for those for whom it's not the central issue in their life –if they care about job creation, if they care about national security, if they care about a better future for the country at large-then I think I'll get their support," Gingrich said.