Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty says constitutional gay marriage bans are needed to limit court “excesses.”

Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, talked to the Miami Herald between campaign stops in Florida.

When asked his position on marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, Pawlenty said he supports constitutional amendments banning such rights.

“When I was in the Minnesota Legislature, I was a co-author of the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between a man and a woman,” he said. “I support a state and federal amendment to the constitutions defining amendments as such.”

Pawlenty added that such amendments do not conflict with his support for small government.

“The Constitution and our statutes and laws more broadly grant or prohibit all kinds of behaviors or rights. So I don’t think it’s out of bounds in that regard. … We have courts who have demonstrated they think they know better than the people on our statutes. And they feel that they should insert their personal or political views into these matters. And the only way to limit court excesses in that regard is to put it in our statutes and our Constitution.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

(Related: Tim Pawlenty thinks gay marriage “defies common sense.”)