Scott Walker calls for respect on same-sex marriage ruling

Updated 11:54 AM EDT, Sun June 28, 2015
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(CNN) —  

Scott Walker said same-sex marriage proponents should respect the religious opinions of those who disapprove of same-sex couples having the right to legally wed.

Speaking in Denver at the Western Conservatives Summit on Saturday, the Wisconsin governor spelled out his criteria for judges and weighed in on the religious liberty debate.

“To me, it is not freedom from religion, it is freedom of religion, which ultimately means we have the right to practice our religious beliefs and not have others interfere,” he said in an onstage interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“We should respect the opinions of others in America, but that in return means that they not only respect our opinions, they respect what is written in the Constitution,” he said.

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Noticeably absent from his comments was a push for a constitutional amendment “to re-affirm the ability of the states to define marriage,” as he said in a statement on Friday following the Supreme Court’s ruling that states can’t ban same-sex marriage.

Asked how he would appoint justices, Walker pointed to his own record of nominating judges in Wisconsin, saying he looks for “integrity” and people who understand the law.

“I want to know … with absolute certainty … that they understand the sole role of the judiciary in the states and in the country is to uphold the Constitution of the United States – no more, no less,” he said.

In his remarks, Walker also went after Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while she was secretary of state – a topic of renewed attention after the recent security breach at the Office of Personnel Management that compromised the personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees.

“This is funny and I wish it wasn’t funny,” Walker said, jokingly. “But it’s probably true today that China and maybe even Russia probably know more about what was on Hillary Clinton’s server than do members of the … United State Congress.”

He argued any “high school freshman taking an ethics course” could recognize that the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of donations from foreign governments while she was serving as secretary of state was a “conflict of interest.”

“Hillary Clinton is woefully out of touch with mainstream America,” he said.

Asked how Republicans can beat Clinton in the general election, Walker – who recently said he’ll announce his 2016 decision the week of July 13 – repeated a line that he used earlier this year that’s also viewed as a knock against Jeb Bush.

“If we’re going to beat a name from the past, we need a name from the future – not a name from the past,” he said.