Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty on Sunday said gay marriage “defies common sense” and is a “bad idea.”

Pawlenty, who as governor of Minnesota was considered a moderate Republican, has continued his slide to the right in a possible bid to win over voters in early caucus state Iowa, where GOP voters tend to favor social conservative candidates.

Pawlenty spent the better part of five minutes attempting to dodge State of the Union host Candy Crowley's questions on how allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry hurts the nation.

“From my standpoint I don't think all domestic relationships are the same as traditional marriage, Candy,” Pawlenty answered. “I think that a marriage between a man and a woman is something that should remain elevated socially, culturally and practically, legally, morally in our society.”

Crowley rephrased her question: “I'm just wondering if you see that there has been harm to the state of Iowa or will there be harm to the state of New York because they've legalized gay marriage?”

“Well, I wouldn't phrase it that way. In the sense that I think there's just a difference of opinion about whether all domestic relationships are in the eyes of the law, and otherwise, going to be the same as traditional marriage. I don't think they should be.”

“In particular, what should gay couples, or lesbian couples, not have that straight couples do?” Crowley asked.

“Well, I think we have a long standing practice. It's social, it's legal, it's cultural that says a man and a woman are joined together for obvious reasons,” he said, then added, “I'm not at the point, nor will I ever be at the point, where I'm going to say, 'You know what, that really is not special, it's not any different than any other domestic relationships that we can imagine or assemble.' I don't buy that at all.”

Crowley tried one more time: “Do you care if there are same-sex couples who have gotten married? I mean, does that truly bother you? Or is it just as a general principle?”

“To me, it's just the idea that we're going to have traditional marriage be viewed in the eyes of the law and society as no different than other domestic relationships, I think is a bad idea … To say that that is somehow the equal of all other possible domestic relationships defies common sense, Candy,” Pawlenty said. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)