Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney want gay couples to have legal rights _ just not the right to marry.
The Republican presidential contenders oppose a New Hampshire law that allows same-sex marriage. But they say gay couples should have basic legal rights _ such as the ability to visit each other in the hospital.
Gingrich says marriage between a man and a woman is at the core of human civilization, and changing that could make life miserable for others.
Romney says gay couples could raise children well. But he says children are better off when raised by parents of different sexes. And Romney says allowing same-sex marriage could cause problems in education and religion.
Following a court order, Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage while Romney was governor.