Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee waits backstage before speaking during the Freedom Summit, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall/AP

Huckabee: ‘Room in the tent’ for gay marriage supporters

Updated

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee acknowledged Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that there is a role in the Republican Party for people who support gay marriage.

While he admitted there is “room in the tent” for Republicans with different beliefs on the issue than his own, the pastor and potential 2016 contender said that expecting Christians to accept gay marriage is “like asking someone who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli … or like asking a Muslim to serve up something that is offensive to him, or to have dogs in his backyard.”

“We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions that they’ve had for 2,000 years,” Huckabee said. “Unless I get a new version of the scriptures, it’s not really my place to say, OK, I’m just going to evolve.”   

Previously, Huckabee had signaled that if the Republican Party embraced same-sex marriage, it would lose his support. 

Out There, 1/14/15, 2:03 PM ET

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The Out There panel ends the show discussing Mike Huckabee’s recent comments on marriage equality and bisexuality, and Thomas takes a question from the studio audience.
“If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead and just abdicate on this issue – go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter, either,” he said during a radio interview with the American Family Association. “At that point, you lose me. I’m gone. I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this,” Huckabee said.

Elaborating on an excerpt from his book in which he says he has gay friends and associates, Huckabee, when pressed on whether being gay is a choice, compared sexual orientation with a lifestyle choice like drinking or swearing. 

“People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle. I don’t shut people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view,” Huckabee said Sunday. “I don’t drink alcohol, but gosh—a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera – it’s not my cup of tea.”

Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa caucus, downplayed the results of a new poll of likely Republican caucus-goers in the state released by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics in which he came in third behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, each separated by one point.

“It’s a little too early to take too much into it,” Huckabee said, admitting that “if I were at the top of the poll, I would tell you this is very significant. The fact that I’m not, well, it’s not as important as it seems to be. I mean, that’s how the game is played.”

More than half of Americans support legal gay marriage, while the number is nearly eight in 10 among young adults. 

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Huckabee: 'Room in the tent' for gay marriage supporters

Updated