Mitt Romney on Thursday declined to criticize President Barack Obama for backing gay marriage.

Appearing on Fox News, Romney told host Neil Cavuto that he would “respect the right of the president to reach the conclusion he has.”

The presumptive GOP nominee reiterated his opposition to gay nuptials but added that he's “fine” with gay couples adopting children.

“I believe that my record as a person who has supported civil rights is strong and powerful. At the same time, I believe that marriage has been defined the same way for literally thousands of years by virtually every civilization in history, and that marriage is literally, by its definition, a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said.

“And if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, or even to adopt a child – in my state individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view, that's something that people have a right to do. But to call that marriage is something that in my view is a departure from the real meaning of that word.”

On Thursday – only a day after Obama announced his support for gay marriage – the Obama campaign released an ad criticizing Romney for his opposition. The ad also claimed that Romney would deny adoption rights to gay couples.