WASHINGTON - Seeking to lure votes of conservative Christians from his Democrat rival ahead of the November election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has reiterated rejection of same-sex marriage.
Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman, Romney said in a speech late Saturday, May 12, at conservative Christian Liberty University cited by Reuters.
Bringing much of the audience to its feet in cheers, Romney said preeminence of the family remains the heart of the principles that underpin the United States.
"As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate," he said.
Same-sex marriage has become a political debate in the US after incumbent president Barack Obama said he supports gays to marry.
The Democrat president argued that he and his wife Michelle had squared his decision with their Christian faith.
Obama had earlier ended the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevented gays from serving openly in the US military.
Setting himself apart from Obama, the Republican hopeful said called for preserving family values.
"Central to America's rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life," he said.
"Take those away, or take them for granted, and so many things can go wrong in a life. Keep them strong, and so many things will go right."
In the US, 31 states have passed constitutional amendments or legislation against same-sex marriage.
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI called for defending humanity against the threat posed by homosexual behaviors, warning homosexual acts could lead to the self-destruction of the human race.
In his speech, Romney has also sought to calm fears that his Mormon faith would be an obstacle to evangelical Christian voters.
"People of different faiths like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology," he said.
"Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview."
Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, view themselves as Christians.
But the Christian Liberty University teaches that Mormonism is a cult.
University officials took down Romney's speech from a commencement Facebook page after it was flooded with hundreds of posts objecting to the candidate's appearance.
But some in the large crowd of 34,000 people said they were prepared to look past his Mormonism and see Romney as the candidate with the best message on jobs and family values.
"I don't believe in the Latter-Day Saints, but I don't have a problem voting for Mitt Romney," said John Gambrino, of Stafford, Virginia, who watched his son graduate.
Current Liberty chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. told parents, staff and students that "we are electing a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief."
Romney will need Christian groups' votes - and organizational heft - with polls pointing toward a close contest with Obama in November.
He can get them if he keeps to a socially conservative message, and does not take their vote for granted, strategists say.
Josh Gonzalez, a Biblical Studies major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said he was concerned when Romney was announced as the speaker at Liberty.
Gonzalez praised the speech, saying it was "very classy of (Romney) recognizing we have two different beliefs.""In all honesty, I'll have to pray about it," he said.