NEW YORK -- Mike Huckabee wants to be president of the United States. He’s also a devout Christian. He also has some less-than-progressive views on same-sex marriage.
The former Arkansas Governor, who used to host a show on Fox News (that inevitably ended with him playing his guitar), appeared on CNN on Sunday to declare that forcing Christians to accept the legality of gay marriage was the same as asking Jewish deli owners to serve "bacon-wrapped shrimp". He also called gay mariage a lifestyle choice, similar to swearing and drinking.
Complaining that American Christians are being persecuted, Huckabee sniffed: "We're so sensitive to make sure that we don't offend certain religions but then we act like Christians can't have the convictions that they've had for over 2,000 years.”
He added: "I don't drink alcohol, but gosh -- a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don't use profanity, but believe me, I've got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera -- it's not my cup of tea."
Huckabee said there was little chance his views could evolve in line with a country in which same-sex marriage is becoming increasingly accepted.
"This is not just a political issue. It is a biblical issue. And as a biblical issue -- unless I get a new version of the scriptures, it's really not my place to say, OK, I'm just going to evolve," he said.
"It's like asking someone who's Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli. We don't want to do that -- I mean, we're not going to do that. Or like asking a Muslim to serve up something that is offensive to him, or to have dogs in his backyard."
Huckabee’s message will no doubt appeal to social conservatives as he weighs up a second big for the White House; he ran in 2008 but was beaten by John McCain. However, the chances of the former Baptist Pastor securing the Republican nomination with such fringe views are very small.
On Friday, Mitt Romney, an early front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination, declared that he would not run for a third time. So far only Jeb Bush, brother of wayward former president George W. Bush, has officially announced his intention to run.