- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 31, 2016

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday he wished the U.S. Supreme Court had left the issue of gay marriage to the states instead of making it legal across the board in its landmark ruling last year.

Mr. Trump, who is polling slightly ahead of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz before Monday’s Iowa caucuses, was responding to critics who say he appears to have moved on from the issue.

“They have ruled on it. I wish it was done by the states,” Mr. Trump told “Fox New Sunday,” saying he would appoint judges who think differently than the current slate.

Fox host Chris Wallace asked if that meant Mr. Trump would appoint justices who would want to overturn last year’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. But the real estate mogul didn’t fully commit himself to an answer.

“I would strongly consider that, yes,” he said.

Gay marriage is an issue that resonates among evangelical voters, who are influential in Iowa, which is set to kick off the 2016 presidential race in 24 hours.

Earlier this year, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — another Republican presidential candidate — rallied around Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who cited her religious beliefs in refusing to issue marriage license to gay couples despite the high court’s ruling.

Mr. Cruz has aggressively courted evangelicals during his all-in sprint through Iowa, though Mr. Trump insists he has an even better relationship with the voting bloc, citing an endorsement from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

“That was a very big turning point,” Mr. Trump said.

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