Rand Paul says America has a 'moral crisis' when it comes to gay marriage

(Photo: REUTERS/John Sommers II)Kentucky Senator Rand Paul

Presidential hopeful Rand Paul criticised the nation's response to the LGBT rights movement at a prayer breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday. 

Paul urged attendees to combat the acceptance of gay marriage in the country, and not expect politicians to stop the momentum of LGBT activists. 

"Don't always look to Washington to solve anything," he said, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.

"In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there's also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage. 

"And so, really there's a role outside and inside government but the exhortation to sort of change people's thoughts has to come through the countryside, from outside of Washington."

The Kentucky senator has insisted that same-sex marriage be decided at the state level, and urged conservatives to be tolerant while still upholding biblical marriage as morally correct. 

"We understand sin," he said at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition in 2012. "If we understand that it's a sin, we understand that people sin."

Paul, 52, distanced himself from other Republicans in 2013, when he provided legal alternatives to allow same-sex couples to receive health benefits and other privileges of married couples, without changing the definition of marriage. 

Instead the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in June 2013 by the US Supreme Court, paving the way for gay marriage bans in states across the country to be contested

The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments for and against the constitutionality of gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and is expected to make a decision by the end of June 2015.

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