The Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal says his party does not have to drop its opposition to equal marriage in order to win elections.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Governor Jindal rejected former Utah Republican governor Jon Huntsman’s argument that conservatives must embrace marriage equality.

“Look, I believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” Governor Jindal said. “We lost [the 2012 election] because we didn’t present a vision showing how we believe the entire economy can grow, how people can join the middle class. We’re an aspirational party and we need policies that are consistent with that aspirational private sector growth.”

In an essay for the American Conservative entitled “Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause,” Mr Huntsman — a Mormon whose previous support for civil unions set him apart from Republican presidential candidates in 2012 — argued that if the Republican Party wants to survive, it must enhance its appeal to gay Americans and the growing majority that supports marriage equality.

Shortly after last November’s US election, which saw the Republican Party and presidential nominee Mitt Romney heavily defeated in key areas at the ballot box, UK Chancellor George Osborne told the British Conservative Party that ditching its support for equal marriage could cause a catastrophic defeat at the 2015 general election.

Mr Osborne said the Republicans had lost “swathes of voters” because of their opposition to equal marriage and abortion rights for women.