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Republican Senator Orrin Hatch not in favor of federal ban on gay marriage

His viewpoint differs from presidential nominee Mitt Romney

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney may have pledged support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage but he has at least one prominent GOP senator who is breaking ranks with him on the issue.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, up for reelection in November, said this week that the issue of marriage equality should be left up to individual states.

'I'm a believer that the states should be able to make their own determination,' he told SiriusXM's Michelangelo Signorile. 'There are about, what, six states that have done it? They've chosen to do that. I don't agree with that, because I believe in the sanctity of the marriage covenant and the traditional definition, but the states have a right to do it.'

Hatch was first elected to the US Senate in 1977 and is a past chairman of the judiciary committee. In 2006, he voted in favor of an unsuccessful federal marriage amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. It would have banned states from enacting laws establishing marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Hatch, 78, seems to have evolved a bit on the issue.

'Well, my personal belief is that we should not discriminate against anybody, but I do draw the line at the definition of marriage,' he said. 'I think that it's a very important thing for men, women and children. But I don't want to see anybody showing prejudice against anybody.'

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