Elizabeth Edwards told a prominent gay rights group Saturday night that her husband, presidential candidate John Edwards, would help repeal more than a thousand laws that discriminate against same-sex couples.

Edwards speech to the Human Rights Campaign in San Francisco was an effort to reassure a crucial constituency with growing political clout that while her husband disagrees with her on gay marriage, he would be a champion for legislation that would protect same-sex couples from discrimination.

Elizabeth Edwards said last month she supports gay marriage. The position surprised her husband. The former North Carolina Senator opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions.