Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said on Friday that the debate about whether gay and lesbian couples can marry is not about discrimination.

The Florida senator made his remarks at the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa. Seven Republican presidential candidates attended the event, which took place at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Event co-sponsors included The Family Leader Foundation, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Alliance for Defending Freedom.

Rubio told attendees that the debate over religious liberty was taking place “in the context of the definition of marriage.”

“Which is not a debate about discrimination,” Rubio stated. “The debate is about how do you define an institution, the institution of marriage, which has been defined the same way for all of human history. That's what the debate is about. It's not about discriminating against anyone. The debate is about how do you define an institution.”

Rubio added that religious liberty was about the right to “exercise your belief.”

“And if you're a Christian, it's your obligation to exercise your religious belief in every aspect of your life,” he said.

Other candidates who appeared at the forum included Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Doctor Ben Carson and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Cruz told those attending that out actress Ellen Page attacked him with accusations of hating gays while grilling pork chops at the Iowa State Fair.