House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday he would refuse to attend the wedding if his lesbian half-sister were to marry another woman.

"I wouldn't regard it as a marriage, I think a marriage is between a man and a woman," the Georgia Republican said on NBC's "Meet The Press."Gingrich said he expected Congress to pass by a wide margin a bill that would define marriage as a union between man and woman, making homosexual couples ineligible for a wide range of federal benefits, including Social Security payments.

President Clinton and congressional Democrats have accused the GOP sponsors of the bill of stirring up an anti-gay issue during this election year, but Clinton has said he would sign the same-sex marriage legislation in its current form.

Supporters say the legislation is needed because of a court case that could make Hawaii the first state to recognize same sex marriages. If that happens, other states could have a legal obligation to recognize those marriages.

Gingrich said he had been with his sister, Candace Gingrich, "when she had girlfriends with her. That doesn't offend."

"That's her life and I don't think we want government or politics in the bedroom," he said.

He added that he opposed same-sex marriages "not as a puritan or a prude. I'm divorced and remarried, I was adopted, my mom was divorced and remarried. I understand life is complicated."

But he said that Americans "as a society have an interest in strengthening classic traditional marriages and defining that marriage" as between a man and a woman.