Rick Santorum, who on Saturday surged past Ron Paul to a second place finish behind Mitt Romney in the latest Des Moines Register Iowa poll, has said he would annul all the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

During an NBC Nightly News segment broadcast Friday, Santorum reiterated his support for an amendment to the United States Constitution that would ban gay marriage, then added that he would also annul all the marriages of gay couples who were legally married.

When Chuck Todd asked, “Do you think marriage is going to be a state issue?” Santorum answered: “I think marriage has to be one thing for everybody. We can't have 50 different marriage laws in this country, you have to have one marriage law.”

“What would you do with same-sex couples who got married?” Todd asked. “Would you make them get divorced?”

“Well, their marriages would be invalid. I think if the constitution says, 'Marriage is this,' then people whose marriage is not consistent with the constitution.”

Santorum added that he wanted to be “tolerant” but he could not ignore the “real consequences” of marriage equality.

“Same-sex couples can contract for just about everything that they privileges they get versus marriage except direct government benefits.”

“Marriage … is a special relationship. I can be your friend and that's a very good and important relationship. … The love I have for my aunt is a very important relationship. But it's not as important … for the health of society of men and women coming together, joining together in marriage, having children and raising those children for the future of society.”