Rick Santorum has claimed that the American family would be on the precipice of extinction if gay marriage where to become legal.

Santorum, who lost the GOP presidential nomination to Mitt Romney, made his remarks Tuesday at a private fundraiser in Spokane for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which is working against passage of Referendum 74, the ballot measure which asks voters to uphold – or reject – a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers.

“This is a turning point in American history and, yes, the state of Washington,” Santorum said. “This issue will destroy and undermine the church in America more than any other movement.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Santorum told his audience that they “are in the front line” and “the foxhole” in the war against marriage equality.

The former Pennsylvania Senator has a long history of opposing gay rights.

(Related: Rick Santorum's greatest anti-gay moments on the campaign trail.)

In the last weeks of his campaign for the GOP nomination, Santorum chided reporters for asking him his views on gay rights and suggested the media had unfairly labeled him anti-gay.