In a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) interview, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, warned that allowing gay couples to marry threatens Christianity.

Marriage equality, Rubio told David Brody, represents “a real and present danger” to religious freedom.

“We are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech because today we've reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater,” he said.

“So what's the next step after that?” Rubio rhetorically asked. “After they're done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. That's a real and present danger.”

Pat Robertson, host of CBN's The 700 Club, applauded Rubio's comments.

“Oh boy, he's coming on strong,” Robertson said. “Rubio could be the Democrats' nightmare.”

(Related: Plurality of religious Americans support gay marriage.)