At Thursday's GOP presidential debate, Rick Santorum attacked Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul's views on gay marriage.

The candidates for the Republican nomination were asked whether they believed New York had the right to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he wanted a federal mandate because “people move.”

Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, said he believed marriage should remain a heterosexual union but added that he supports civil unions “because I believe our country can do a better job on equality.”

“Marriage should be between a single man and a single woman,” Texas Rep. Ron Paul said. “But, I don't think the government should be involved. I mean, why should we have a license to be married? Less government would be better. If we have to have regulations, let the state government do it.”

Perry, who is expected to jump into the race on Saturday, has previously echoed Bachmann's position that the 10th Amendment gives states the right to decide social issues but a federal amendment would trump such laws and is preferred.

In answering an unrelated question, Santorum rounded back to gay marriage to pounce on Bachmann and Paul.

“This is the 10th Amendment run amok. Michele Bachmann says that she would go in and fight health care being imposed by states – mandatory health [care] – but she wouldn't fight marriage being imposed by the states. That would be OK. We have Ron Paul saying, 'What the states want to do. Whatever the states want to do under the 10th Amendment is fine.' So, if the states want to pass polygamy, that's fine. If the states want to impose sterilization, that's fine. No, our country is based on morals laws, ladies and gentlemen. There are things the states can't do. Abraham Lincoln said the states do not have the right to do wrong. I respect the 10th Amendment. But we are a nation that has values. We are a nation that was built on a moral enterprise. And states don't have a right to tramp over those because of the 10th Amendment,” he said to thunderous applause.

“You have to fight in each state, and that is where I disagree with Rick Perry; I disagree with Michele Bachmann,” he later stated.

(Related: Are Rick Santorum's Lincoln references comparing gay marriage to slavery?)