(CNN) — Mike Huckabee told an Iowa crowd on Tuesday that he’s “not homophobic,” but believing marriage should be between one man and one woman is being “on the right side of the Bible.”
Huckabee, who is also a pastor, told a conservative crowd, “I’m not against anybody. I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic.”
“I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives,” Huckabee said in his keynote address to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.
“But … when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand.”
Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and 2008 Iowa presidential caucus winner, is considering another bid for the White House. Throughout his speech, he highlighted his socially conservative values, slamming big government and referring to the IRS as a “criminal enterprise.”
“Look, I’m not trying to be some whacko way out there, I’m talking about the basic, most fundamental rights we have as an American citizen and while those rights are being stripped from us by the IRS, the NSA and the TSA,” he said.
Huckabee went on to refer to a review, rejected Monday by the Supreme Court, of a closely watched religious liberty appeal over a business owner’s right to deny services to gays and lesbians. The justices denied the petition of a New Mexico photographer who was sanctioned under state law for refusing to document a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. The court’s refusal to intervene means those financial penalties stand.
“Why is it that Christians stand back and take it in the teeth time and time and time again? But we cannot change this country if we do not rise up and vote with an informed mind and a committed spirit and if we’re not willing to stand along.”
Tuesday’s event is the largest annual fundraiser for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is very influential with socially conservative voters in the Hawkeye State.
Huckabee has been stoking speculation that he might jump into the 2016 race after sitting out the last cycle, with trips to the politically important early caucus or primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.