Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Saturday expressed support for legislative efforts to overturn same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.
The three-term Texas governor made the remarks — as well as comments in opposition to abortion rights — at an annual banquet for the conservative advocacy group known as Cornerstone Action, according to the Concord Monitor.
“As conservatives we believe in the sanctity of life. We believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage,” Perry was quoted as saying. “And I applaud those legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, realizing that children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father.”
Earlier this week, a Republican-controlled House committee in the state legislature voted 11-6 in favor of legislation that would overturn same-sex marriage in the Granite State. A vote on the House floor is expected early next year at around the same time as the state’s presidential primary.
According to the Monitor, the legislation would allow the 1,600 married same-sex couples in New Hampshire to remain married, but future same-sex marriages would be illegal.
Gov. John Lynch (D), who in 2009 signed the same-sex marriage law, has vowed to veto any legislation overturning marriage equality that comes to his desk. But after the 2010 election, Republicans took a super majority in both chambers of the legislature and could override his veto.
A majority of New Hampshire residents oppose rescinding marriage equality. According to a University of New Hampshire Center survey published earlier this month, 62 percent of state residents either oppose or strongly oppose repeal while 27 percent support repealing the marriage law.
Perry made the remarks as he has fallen considerably behind other presidential candidates in the race to win the Republican nomination. Once the front-runner upon his entry into the race, the Texas governor has now fallen far behind former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In an Economist/YouGov poll published Saturday, Perry had nine percent support among likely Republican primary and caucus-goers. Comparatively, Cain had support from 28 percent of respondents and Romney had support from 24 percent.
Perry’s opposition to marriage equality has been known, but he hasn’t before articulated any position on the New Hampshire marriage law as the state readies for its presidential primary.
He once said he was “fine” with the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, but then retracted those comments and said he supports a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country.
Perry has also signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage to support, among other things, a Federal Marriage Amendment and defense of the Defense of Marriage Act against litigation in court.