A pro-gay Republican group has announced it will spend $2 million on candidates’ midterm primary campaigns.

The American Unity PAC group, funded mainly by billionaire Paul Singer, plans to spend the funds on helping candidates in favour of rights for same-sex couples in their primary battles.

Senior advisor Jeff Cook-McCormac told USA Today: “For many years, there’s been a huge fear from Republican elected officials that if they showed courage on issues like this, would they be able to survive politically?

“What American Unity PAC is committed to doing is ensuring that as these courageous elected officials follow their conscience and do the right thing, that there is a political network in place that’s there to defend them.

“We’re not trying to hide who we are… there’s no question that we are an organization that’s largely funded by Republican business leaders who believe passionately that freedom means freedom for everyone.

“But they are also strong believers in economic freedom.

“In some ways, it’s insulting to think that because someone supports gay rights that they can’t talk about other issues, too.

“Gay and lesbian Americans and the people who care about them live in the same economy as the rest of us.”

Singer earlier this year gave his backing to a bill to outlaw anti-gay workplace discrimination, alongside several other high profile Republican donors.