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Santorum opposes civil unions for same-sex couples

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, said today he opposes civil unions, too.

In response to a question by Dean Reynolds for the "CBS Evening News," the former Pennsylvania senator said same-sex couples should work through the legal system to obtain rights similar to those enjoyed by legally married couples.

(Watch a clip of the interview in the video player above.)

"I believe in people's right to be able to contract for whatever benefits that they have," Santorum told Reynolds.

"I believe in freedom of contract and people should be able to contract for hospitalization visits, being able to take insurance policies or life insurance," he added. "And I've encouraged folks if they want to build those relationships to do that." (Watch more of the interview with Reynolds on Wednesday's "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.")

Santorum has spoken out numerous times against gay marriage. In a January 2011 interview on CNN, Santorum said he supports a federal marriage amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.

"Marriage cannot be defined differently from one state to another," Santorum said. "For the interest of children, for the interest of society and stability of men and women of families, marriage should be what it is and that's the union of one man and one woman."

During an August interview on Fox News, Santorum told host Megyn Kelly that he respects people's "decision" to be gay, but disagrees with them "vehemently about what is in the best interest of society with respect to our marriage laws."

"I have friends who are gay," Santorum told Kelly. "It's not personal; it's about policy."


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