Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum says opposition to gay rights is “common sense,” first reported.

In a videotaped interview with CNS News editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey, the former lawmaker said he opposes gay marriage and the adoption of children by gay men and lesbians.

When asked whether the state had “violated” the rights of a child who had been placed with a gay couple, Santorum said, “I would say that the state is doing a disservice to that child.”

“But what I can say is that the state is not doing a service to the child and to society by not putting that child in a home where there is a mother and a father.”

“This is common sense. This is nature. And what we're trying to do is defy nature because a certain group of people want to be affirmed by society. And I just don't think that's to the benefit of society or to the child.”

When pressed for a clarification, Santorum answered, “I don't believe in same-sex adoption, nor do I believe in same-sex marriage.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, another likely candidate for the GOP nomination, is also courting the Republican base with anti-gay rhetoric. Pawlenty is expected to meet with Iowa's largest anti-gay marriage group next month.