Rumoured Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has compared being gay to drinking alcohol.

The former Governor of Arkansas – who recently quit his Fox News show rather than rule out a run for President – made the comments to CNN.

Despite his opposition to gay rights, Huckabee claimed that he has gay friends – before asserting it’s a “lifestyle” like swearing a lot or drinking alcohol.

He said: “People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle. I don’t shut people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view.

“I don’t drink alcohol, but gosh – a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do.”

He also claimed that he would never drop his opposition to same-sex marriage, unless God re-issues the Bible.

The Republican said: “This is not just a political issue. It is a biblical issue. And as a biblical issue — unless I get a new version of the scriptures, it’s really not my place to say, OK, I’m just going to evolve,

“It’s like asking someone who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli…. or like asking a Muslim to serve up something that is offensive to him, or to have dogs in his backyard.

“We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions that they’ve had for 2,000 years.”

Huckabee was recently announced as a speaker for a Catholic group that advocates gay ‘cure’ therapy, after a number of other figures withdrew.

Mr Huckabee previously ran for President in 2008 – coming third in the Republican primaries behind 2008 candidate John McCain and 2012 candidate Mitt Romney.