Texas Rep. Ron Paul says he believes the government should “butt out” of the marriage business.

During a wide-ranging interview conducted last week with the Des Moines Register's editorial board, the GOP presidential candidate was asked: “What is the government's role in same-sex marriage?”

“That's my ideal — just butt out,” Paul answered. “I think a lot of the importance of marriage and I think a lot of the dictionary too. I know what the dictionary says marriage should be and is. But I didn't vote for the marriage amendment. To me, it's defining a word. If you want to define it one way and me another, that sounds like a first amendment issue. Why should I try to convince you of my definition? Or why do I want someone else to impose their ideas on me and make me accept their definition? So I want the government out. If you're going to have government under the constitution, the states have a lot more authority than the federal government has to define it. I'd rather see it be outside of government and then we would not be arguing about this.”

Paul spoke with the paper before appearing at the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, where he disagreed with GOP rivals Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann on amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union.

His position did not sit well with Bob Vander Plaats, the head of The Family Leader, which organized the event.

“Think he let his libertarian view trump his moral compass,” Vander Plaats told the Des Moines Register.