Rubio Explains Why He Doesn't Support Federal Marriage Amendment

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks during a campaign event at the Maintenance Shop at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, December 10, 2015. | (Photo: REUTERS/Scott Morgan)

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio appeared on NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday and explained why he thinks the June Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide should be dealt with by appointing judges "that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed," rather than amend the Constitution.

"If you want to change the definition of marriage, then you need to go to state legislatures and get them to change it. Because states have always defined marriage," Rubio told NBC's Chuck Todd, when asked, "Are you going to work to overturn the same-sex marriage?"

Asked again, "Are you going to work to overturn it?" Rubio explained that "that would be conceding that the current Constitution is somehow wrong and needs to be fixed."

"I don't think the current Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate marriage. That belongs at the state and local level. And that's why if you want to change the definition of marriage, which is what this argument is about," he said.

The Florida senator said it's not about discrimination.

"It is about the definition of a very specific, traditional, and age-old institution. That definitional change, if you want to change it, you have a right to petition your state legislature and your elected representatives to do it," he added. "What is wrong is that the Supreme Court has found this hidden constitutional right that 200 years of jurisprudence had not discovered and basically overturn the will of voters in Florida where over 60 percent passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage in the state constitution as the union of one man and one woman."

Rubio is among the top three GOP candidates in polls in Iowa, behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and real estate magnate Donald Trump. The pending Federal Marriage Amendment, authored by Cruz, seeks to define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman.

Todd asked Rubio, "So are you accepting the idea of same sex marriage in perpetuity?"

"I don't believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it," Rubio responded. "And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed."

During the conversation on the NBC show, Todd also told Rubio that he is seen as an establishment favorite.

Rubio replied, "The establishment didn't want me in the United States Senate. I have consistently voted against many of the things that some people who you would identify as the establishment are for. When I chose to get into this race, I had a lot of people come forward and tell me I shouldn't run, that it wasn't my turn."

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