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WATCH: Rick Santorum Thinks 'People Aren't Getting Married'

WATCH: Rick Santorum Thinks 'People Aren't Getting Married'

Republican presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum isn't backing down on his longstanding opposition to marriage equality in the wake of last month's landmark Supreme Court ruling securing the freedom to marry nationwide. 

Speaking with John Dickerson on CBS's Sunday political talk show Face the Nation, Santorum engaged in some verbal gymnastics to maintain his opposition to same-sex parents, while stumping for his belief in so-called traditional marriage.

"There's an assault on religious liberty here," the Republican began, discussing the Supreme Court ruling that explicitly stated religious institutions have a right to advocate against marriage equality. "The court basically said, 'no, churches, you're allowed to teach what you want, but it really didn't say you're allowed to practice what you want.' This is, again, a huge infringement on the foundational right that we have, which is the First Amendment."

Claiming that nationwide marriage equality has "put the nail in the coffin" of the "nuclear family," Santorum added, "we now disconnect the nuclear family from the idea that it's there for the idea of having and raising children."

"Marriage is no longer about kids," claimed Santorum, ignoring the fact that several of the same-sex couples who brought the landmark marriage case are raising children, and that Justice Anthony Kennedy's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges specifically cited the rights of children with same-sex parents to have acces to the same legal protections afforded to children with opposite-sex parents.

In fact, Face the Nation host Dickerson challenged the former Pennsylvania senator on exactly that point, asking Santorum if same-sex parents cannot also raise well-adjusted, happy children who are good American citizens. (For the record, that's exactly what overwhelming scientific evidence concludes LGBT families are already doing.)

"What we know is best, from thousands of years in human history, is for children to be raised with mothers and fathers," replied Santorum, apparently unaware that his words could be interpreted to imply that children should be raised with two mothers or two fathers.  

"If you have laws that say, you know, marriage isn't about children, now for the first time in the history of our country, a majority of children born out of wedlock, which is about 40-45 percent of children in America today, are born in homes that the father is still living," Santorum offered as an explanation.

"Why? Because we have now said marriage isn't about– I mean, children– having children has nothing to do with marriage, so people aren't getting married," concluded the former Senator. "That's not a good situation to maximize the potential for each and every one of our children."

When pressed, Santorum did acknowledge that "the bigger problem" destabilizing American families today is divorce and adultery, rather than "gay marriage," though he resisted making a direct connection.  

Watch Santorum try to sidestep the marriage equality question below:

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