Rick Santorum has suggested that supporters of gay marriage don't respect him.

During an appearance Thursday on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, host Piers Morgan asked Santorum to weigh in on the controversial anti-gay comments Kirk Cameron made on the program.

“Kirk Cameron's real problem wasn't that he wanted to stay true to his religious beliefs,” Morgan said. “But it was the language and rhetoric he used appeared to be quite hateful and derogatory. My question to you would be: Given the way that the gay marriage debate is going, gay rights debate is going, is it time that people, even if they have strong religious conviction on this issue, stopped using inflammatory language to demean the gay community?”

“I think both sides need to respect both sides,” Santorum answered.

He added that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's recent decision striking down California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, essentially labeled opponents “bigots and haters.”

“The 9th Circuit basically said anybody that believes that marriage should be just between a man and a woman is irrational. And the only reason they could possibly feel this way is because they are bigots and haters,” Santorum said.

“I respect people who disagree with me,” he added. “I think they have a right to go out and make their case and sell it to the American public and try to change the law as they see fit. I don't use language that, you know, calls them bigots or haters.”

Santorum later joked that he wasn't in the loop on what Cameron had said because he was too busy trying “to save the country.” (Watch the exchange at Mediaite.com.)