Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich leaves a meeting with Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York City. Democrats are hoping to run against Gingrich, who is leading the GOP race in the most recent polls.
Credit: Spencer Platt

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board today that gay people choose to be gay.

"I believe it’s a combination of genetics and environment. I think both are involved. I think people have many ranges of choices," he said when asked if people choose to be gay.

The former House speaker, who has come out against same-sex marriage, compared making the choice to be gay to making the choice to be celibate, reported Think Progress.

"People choose many things in life," he said.

Gingrich also told the editorial board that he would reinstate the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy regarding gays in the military.

“I don’t think that in the military you would particularly want sexual behavior to be an overt issue.”

Gingrich's half-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones, is gay, and she has said that she disagrees with her brother on gay rights and will vote for President Obama in the November presidential election.

"He is definitely on the wrong side of history when it comes to those issues," Gingrich-Jones said, according to Reuters.

She also said that she would "work really, really hard to make sure that President Obama is re-elected next year no matter who the Republican candidate is."

More from GlobalPost: Candace Gingrich-Jones: I will vote for Obama

Gingrich has surged in the polls for the 2011 GOP nomination.

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