The GOP presidential candidates reiterated their opposition to same-sex marriage during Thursday’s debate in Ames, Iowa, even as the majority of Americans now support marriage equality and 11.4 percent of the population lives in a state that recognizes the unions of gay and lesbian couples. The contenders sparred over the role of the federal government in regulating marriage, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman distinguished himself for his support of civil unions and greater LGBT equality:
MITT ROMNEY: Marriage is a status. It’s not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state and as a result, our marriage status relationship should be constant across the country. I believe we should have a federal amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.
JON HUNTSMAN: I also believe in civil unions, because I believe this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality and I believe we can do a better job when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights rights.
RON PAUL: I think marriages should be between a single man and a single woman and that the federal government shouldn’t be involved.
RICK SANTORUM: It sounds to me like Rep. Paul would say that polygamous marriages are okay.
MICHELE BACHMANN: I support the federal marriage amendment…and as president I would not nominate activist judges who would legislate from the bench.
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