US Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has hit out at gay marriage again.

Mr Pawlenty was speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, the first day of marriage equality in New York.

He defended his anti-gay marriage views, saying that gay couples’ unions are not equivalent to heterosexual marriage and that recognition of gay marriage would damage society.

He said: “I don’t think all domestic relationships are the same as traditional marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman is something that should remain elevated socially, culturally, and practically, legally, morally in our society.”

Mr Pawlenty, who said that marriage was about procreation and raising children, was pressed on whether he believes marriage equality would harm society.

He replied: “I think society devalues traditional marriage by saying all other domestic relationships are the same as traditional marriage, you then dilute and devalue traditional marriage.”

The politician, who has said he supports keeping the ban on openly gay troops, was ‘glittered’ by gay rights campaigners last month.