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GOP 2016 hopefuls emphasize staunch opposition to same-sex marriage in Iowa stump

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom 15th Annual Spring Kick Off, in Waukee, Iowa, Saturday, April 25, 2015.
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom 15th Annual Spring Kick Off, in Waukee, Iowa, Saturday, April 25, 2015. Nati Harnik, AP

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Both Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Paul, for example, have stopped short of calling for a federal ban on same-sex marriage sought by some religious conservatives. The senators have said that question should be left to the states.

Rick Perry
Rick Perry

Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum

Many candidates spoke about their personal faith beliefs. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke about his conversion to Christianity and said he would seek to protect religious freedom.

“The United States of America did not create religious liberty,” Jindal said. “Religious liberty created the United States of America.”

Also on the program were former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and businesswoman Carly Fiorina. Most candidates focused on religious and social issues, but several took shots at Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Fiorina, the only woman among the 2016 Republican contenders, said Republicans need to choose someone who can throw “punches all day long” at the potential Democratic presidential nominee.

Gary Chidester, 65, of Lakesburg, said he had talked to most candidates even before the event, but remained undecided. He was most interested in hearing support for traditional marriage and opposition to abortion rights, adding: “As a Christian, when I’m holding my Bible and the words change in it, I’ll change.”

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