“I’d far prefer having the representatives of people make that decision than justices, but I believe the issue of marriage should be at the federal level,” Romney said.

“The reason is people move state to state, of course, in a society like ours. 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.”

Romney added that he supports a constitutional amendment that would “define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

Former governor of Utah and Ambassador to China John Huntsman, who supports civil unions for same-sex couples, was asked if his position was too moderate for GOP primary voters.

“I believe in traditional marriage, first and foremost,” Huntsman said.

“But, I also believe in civil unions because I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality. I think this national can do a better job when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights. That’s just my personal belief. Everyone is entitled to their personal belief, too.”

One of the moderators asked Rep. Ron Paul, who has said he supports the states’ rights in the marriage debate, if he would support states that wanted to legalize polygamy. Paul scoffed and said it would be like a state reenacting slavery.

“I want the states to deal with it if they have to, if they need to,” Paul said of the marriage debate. “I would say less government would be better. If you have to have regulations, let the state governments do it.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann took a moment to remind voters that she hasn’t budged on the marriage debate.

“I support the federal marriage amendment because I believe that we will see this issue at the Supreme Court one day,” she said.

“And as president, I will not nominate activist judges who legislate from the bench. I also want to say that while I was in Minnesota, I was the chief author of the constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man, one woman. I have an unblemished record when it comes to this issue.”

There were several jabs between the candidates and even a few harsh words directed at the moderators by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was asked about the mass exits of his campaign staff and accused the moderators of asking “gotcha questions.”

 

Top photo: Rep. Michele Bachmann (via Facebook)

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