In Advance of 2016, Rubio Makes a Social-Conservative Case

He conceded that the issue poses “a legitimate questions for lawmakers and for society,” but said there is another side to this debate.

“Thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children,” he said. “And since traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful adults, states in our country have long elevated this institution and set it apart in our laws.”

The Florida senator said that the right to define and regulate marriage is a “two-way street,” and Americans who oppose same-sex marriage have the same right to lobby their state legislatures to change state laws.

“Americans, like myself, who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing that overturned by a judge,” Rubio said.

On the divisive issue of abortion, Rubio cited the “inalienable right” to live as backing for his belief in life at conception, which is not “a statement of faith” but a matter of “medical science.”

He said abortion is a difficult issue because it involves two competing rights – women’s rights to make choices about their bodies and the rights of the unborn to live.

“In weighing these two options, I know where I stand: An unborn child should be welcomed into life and protected in law,” he said. “It seems to me a decent, humane society will take tangible steps to help women with unwanted pregnancies even as that society defends an unborn child’s right to live.”