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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz not backing down on same-sex marriage

Some Republicans are urging their party to soften its opposition to same-sex marriage, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is not one of them.

After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in a 5-4 decision Friday, Cruz labeled the decision "lawless" and "radical" - an act of "judicial tyranny."

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And the conservative firebrand said Monday he plans to put his opposition to same-sex marriage "front and center" in his 2016 presidential bid.

"This is very much...something I intend to campaign on," Cruz told NPR. "And marriage and religious liberty are going to be integral, I believe, to motivating the American people to come out and vote for what's, ultimately, restoring our constitutional system."

He's embraced two constitutional amendments in response: One would preserve the right of individual states to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The second, Cruz told NPR, would subject Supreme Court justices to "periodic judicial retention elections." He noted that 20 states have an electoral mechanism to oust judges who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the constitution."

Some other GOP candidates have offered a similarly dramatic response to Friday's ruling. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, for example, warned in an interview with the Family Research Council on Friday that the ruling would "[disrupt] the foundation of the world."

But several Republicans seeking the White House in 2016 have projected a more conciliatory tone.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush expressed his support for "traditional marriage" in a statement, but he added, "We should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side."

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul urged the government to "get out of the marriage business" entirely, writing in a Time editorial, "While I disagree with Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract. The constitution is silent on the question of marriage because marriage has always been a local issue...I've often said I don't want my guns or my marriage registered in Washington."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham labeled himself a "proud defender of traditional marriage," but he explicitly ruled out an attempt to amend the Constitution in response to Friday's ruling, calling it a "divisive effort that would be doomed to fail."

In an interview Sunday on NBC News, Graham called on the GOP to strip language from its party platform affirming "support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

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