Presidential candidate Rick Santorum continues to reference President Abraham Lincoln when discussing his opposition to gay marriage.

The 53-year-old Santorum and his 7 children and wife are touring Iowa on their way to next week's Ames Straw Poll. He said he's made over 100 appearances in small venues throughout the state.

In several speeches, Santorum has attempted to explain his opposition to states deciding on marriage equality by invoking Lincoln's legacy.

“Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had a little debate about whether states have the right to do wrong,” he told a group of roughly 50 supporters on Saturday. “If the institution that these states are propagating is wrong and harmful to the family, the states may have the legal right to do it, but as far as I'm concerned, they don't have the moral right to do it, and we should stand up and fight against what they're doing.”

Santorum could be alluding to a series of seven debates between Stephen A. Douglas – not Frederick Douglass – and Abraham Lincoln which drew nationwide attention in 1858. During three debates, Lincoln said, “We do not have the right to do wrong,” in response to Douglas' assertion that slavery should be allowed in the territories. (Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who went on to become a leader of the abolitionist movement. That is, Douglass and Lincoln were in agreement that slavery was morally wrong.)

Is Santorum saying that gay marriage is morally wrong like slavery? Furthermore, is he attempting to dislodge claims by gay rights activists that marriage is a civil right?