Washington (CNN)Mike Huckabee says marriage is "in trouble today" because of the "redefinition of love" -- no matter who's in the relationship.
Mike Huckabee: 'Redefinition of love' threatens marriage
And, the former Arkansas governor said Sunday, that's a problem "in every definition of marriage -- be it heterosexual or homosexual or polygamy or wherever the marriage redefinition ends up taking us over the course of the next few years."
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," Huckabee complained that marriage is under assault from people who don't understand the commitment it entails.
Asked whether same-sex marriage or high divorce rates are a bigger threat to the institution, Huckabee responded that the question was like asking which wing of an airplane is more important.
"Regardless, heterosexual marriage is largely in trouble today because people see it as a selfish means of pleasing self, rather than a committed relationship in which the focus is on meeting the needs of the partner," he said. "That sense of selfishness and the redefinition of love as to something that is purely sentimental and emotional, has been destructive."
Fellow Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum vowed on Friday in a Facebook post to "begin a national discussion on reclaiming marriage -- so that all children can be assured of their birthright of having the love and support of both a mother and a father in a stable healthy home."
Protecting the rights of faith-based organizations not wanting to participate in same-sex marriage would also be a high priority, he said.
Following the legalization of same-sex marriage, some religious groups have feared that the government will remove the tax exempt status of religious organizations. Santorum hopes to secure the groups' non-profit status.
"On Day 1, the Santorum administration will issue an executive order to implement elements of the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure no agency of the federal government will interfere with the religious liberty rights of faith-based organizations who oppose same-sex marriage," Santorum wrote.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, introduced the First Amendment Defense Act to Congress. It's goal is to prevent the federal government from punishing people -- including individuals and businesses -- for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings.
Huckabee also defended his controversial comment in a book that Jay-Z looks like his wife Beyonce's "pimp," to CNN's Tapper.
And he explained his defense of reality television star Josh Duggar, who was accused of child molestation as a teen and saw the details of that 2006 investigation detailed in a recent report.
"Those juvenile records should never have been released," Huckabee said.
And of Duggar, he said: "What he did was absolutely unconscionable. But nothing is unforgivable."
Asked about Donald Trump's controversial remarks about Mexicans, Huckabee softened his stance, saying he would "never besmirch all the people who come here."
He said that if illegal immigrants "want to be part of the American dream" and share the country's flag, culture and language, their motivations are the same as early immigrants to the country.