Rick Santorum Says Supreme Court Not Final Word on Gay Marriage

(Photo: Reuters/Chris Keane)Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks with the press during a campaign stop at Tommy's Ham House in Greenville, South Carolina, May 31, 2015.

In a Meet the Press interview on Sunday, presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the upcoming Supreme Court decision on gay marriage has "validity" but is not "the final word."

Santorum, who officially announced his candidacy last week, was asked by Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd if he agreed with Mike Huckabee's assessment that states should take action to disregard a ruling many experts expect to be in favor of attempting to redefine marriage in the United States.

"Well, I think the Supreme Court has, as an equal branch of government, the ability to overrule Congress and the president," declared Santorum. "They do it all the time.

"But I also feel it's the role of the Congress and the president to push back," added Santorum. "I mean I think it's important that they are understood as equal branches of government."

Santorum continued to emphasize the theme of a possible "pushback" against the upcoming decision.

"I think it's important to understand that the Supreme Court doesn't have the final word," declared Santorum. "It has its word. Its word has validity. But it's important for Congress and the president, frankly, to push back when the Supreme Court gets it wrong."

Santorum compared his opposition to a possible upcoming favorable decision on gay marriage to the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, which radically expanded abortion rights nationwide.

"Roe versus Wade was decided 30 some years ago, and I continue to fight that," said Santorum, "because I think the court got it wrong.

"We're not bound by what nine people say in perpetuity," added Santorum.

Santoum has called himself a "culture warrior," and has publicly criticized fellow Catholic and former president John F. Kennedy's notable speech to a group of ministers in Houston, Texas in 1960. In the speech, Kennedy essentially said his Catholic faith plays no role in policy or how he would lead as president.

In 2012, Santorum won the Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana Republican primaries, where he received overwhelming support from Evangelical Protestants.

Santorum received criticism by some in April for saying he would not attend a gay wedding. Santorum said he would love and support the couple but could not attend the ceremony because it would "violate his faith." According to Business Insider, many of the other declared and prospective candidates said they had no problem attending a gay wedding ceremony.

Gay marriage is now recognized by 36 states and the District of Columbia. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is expected by June. The U.S. Supreme Court previously struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 in a 5-4 decision.

"These great moral issues of our time should be left to the democratic process, not to five activist judges," Santorum declared after the high court's 2013 decision.

In an interview this year, Mike Huckabee compared a favorable ruling on same-sex marriage to the infamous 19th century Dred Scott decision, which Huckabee held up as an example that pushing back against the high court "is not without historical and judicial precedence.

"Do we really surrender the entire American system of government to five people, unelected, appointed for life, with no consequences for the decisions they make?" asked Huckabee.