Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday denied that opposing gay marriage makes him a bigot.

In addressing a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) taking place in National Harbor, Maryland, Rubio, a Republican, lashed out at his critics.

“I respect people who disagree with me on certain things, but that means they have to respect me too,” Rubio said. “Just because I believe states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot. Just because we believe that life, all human life, all life, all human life is worthy of protection in every stage of its development doesn't make you a chauvinist. In fact, the people who are actually close minded in American politics are people who love to preach about the certainty of science in regard to our climate, but ignore the absolute fact that life begins at conception.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Rubio appeared on the stage with a tray of water glasses, a humorous nod to his highly-publicized water break during the GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.