Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Christians shouldn't be punished for opposing same-sex marriage as they stand for traditional Christian beliefs.
On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday he argued that forcing people of faith to accept gay marriage is like forcing Jews to serve "bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli." Both foods are violations of Jewish kosher rules.
"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 have had for over 2,000 years," Huckabee said.
"I would like to think that there's room in America for people who have different points of views without screaming, shouting and wanting to shut their businesses down," he said.
Over the past few years, gay activists have done exactly that, targeting Christian cake makers, florists and chapel owners who declined to service same-sex weddings.
Huckabee's comments come as the former Baptist pastor is weighing a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He's counting on social conservatives and evangelicals who have great clout in early nominating Iowa to help him.
Huckabee also added a pitch for inclusion in his remarks, saying he has some gay friends.
"I accept a lot of people as friends maybe whose lifestyle I don't necessarily adhere to, agree with or practice. Doesn't mean that I can't have a good relationship with anyone or lead them or govern them," he said.
"I don't chuck people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view," Huckabee said.
Still, he remained steadfastly opposed to special rights for gays and lesbians.
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