Olympia, Washington (CNN) - GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, an opponent of gay marriage, defended Friday the democratic process by which states are pursuing same-sex marriage legislation.
The Republican presidential candidate and former House speaker is campaigning in Washington state where a same-sex marriage bill was recently passed. The state holds a presidential caucus March 3.
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"I think at least they're doing it the right way, which is going through voters, giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will," Gingrich told reporters after meeting with Washington's House Republican Caucus at the state capitol.
Gingrich is a fierce critic of courts that rule on same-sex marriage, which he says oversteps courts' constitutional authority. The former House speaker has said he believes same-sex marriage legislation should be stopped by referendum.
"I don't agree with it. I would vote no if it were on a referendum where I was. But at least they're doing it the right way," Gingrich said.
In Washington the marriage bill was signed into law by the governor last week and could take effect in June, but Republicans have vowed to try to halt its implementation by putting it up for a vote in November. Opponents need to collect at least 120,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.