Republican presidential candidates spar over gay marriage

Sat. January 7, 2012 11:30 PM by News Staff

Manchester, N.H. - The Republican presidential candidates got into an angry exchange during a debate Saturday night in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said they're against New Hampshire's law that allows gay marriage.

However, Gingrich and Romney both said they think gay and lesbian couples should have basic rights in relation to each other -- like hospital visitation rights.

Rep. Ron Paul was the only one to disagree with the anti-gay sentiment; he said his libertarian philosophy and belief in the Fourth Amendment compels him to argue for a right to privacy.

Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman said that he supported "civil unions."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said that he'd support a constitutional ban on gay marriage that would also invalidate any gay marriages that have already occurred.

"If the constitution says marriage is between a man and a woman, then marriage is between a man and a woman," he said. "Those who are not men and women and are married would not be married."

Santorum has previously argued that gay marriage will lead to bestiality and polygamy, and has also said that the existence of gay marriage threatens his own marriage.

And he recently said that having two parents of the same-sex is more dangerous for a child than being raised by a convicted felon.