Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum believes the legalization of gay marriage would discourage heterosexual couples from marrying.

Santorum, who lost the 2012 GOP presidential nomination to Mitt Romney, made his remarks during an appearance on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor.

“Would we be discouraging heterosexual marriage by allowing gay marriage?” host Bill O'Reilly asked.

“Yeah, I believe we would,” Santorum answered. “And because we'd be saying that marriage isn't about children. Isn't about having children. Isn't about raising children. And when we say that, then, of course, the consequences are you're probably going to have less children. It's happening as we see it. It's already happening in America. Before this whole gay marriage debate, we really have seen a change in what marriage is in America.”

“And if marriages go away, then you don't have stable families raising the next generation. And if you look at places that in fact have gone through and changed their definition of marriage, what you have seen is lower birth rates. What you have seen is lower marriage rates. What you have seen is problems that come from that. So, the biggest issue is that we need to encourage men and women to come together and form stable families and have children so society can continue because if that doesn't happen, it won't.”