Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a recent interview that he doesn't believe same-sex marriage is a political issue of winners or losers, but rather an issue of principles. In recent weeks, same-sex marriage bans have been struck down by federal judges in three states, although the Republican Party maintains a steadfast opposition to gay marriage legalization.
When asked by NBC's David Gregory on Sunday morning's "Meet the Press" if he thinks Republicans have lost their fight in the gay marriage debate, Romney responded that it's not an issue of winners or losers.
"I don't know if you have to worry about who wins and who loses a particular fight," Romney, former Massachusetts governor, told "Meet the Press." "I think you stand for various principles. You communicate those to the American people, and they either support those or not."
The former Republican presidential nominee, who ran against Barack Obama in 2012, went on to say that he still supports the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
"And I think the ideal setting for raising a child is in a setting where there's a father and a mother," Romney, a Mormon, said. "There are many other different settings that children are raised in. And people have the right to live their life as they want to. But I think marriage should be defined in the way that it's been defined for several thousand years."
When asked if he thinks same-sex marriage will have a negative impact on society, Romney said that it could take "generations" for Americans to see the ramifications of legalizing same-sex marriage.
"I think it's going to take a long, long time to determine whether having gay marriage will make it less likely for kids to be raised in settings where there's a mom and a dad," Romney responded. "That's not going to happen overnight. It's something which happens over generations."
Romney said he thinks ultimately gay marriage should be left up to the American people rather than decided by the courts. Last June, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and since that ruling, judges in multiple states have ruled the state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
Federal judges in Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia have recently struck down the states' bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. The rulings for Oklahoma and Utah are being challenged by the states in the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and opponents of Virginia's ruling have vowed to appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.