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Presidential hopeful Mike Pence Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Former U.S. vice president Mike Pence gave mixed answers last weekend when asked about the federal codification of same-sex “marriages,” suggesting he personally believes in a Biblical view of marriage but recognizes the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical redefinition of marriage established in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).

Pence, who served as President Donald Trump’s vice president from 2016 to 2020, made the comments in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that aired Sunday, in which he told host Margaret Brennan that he believes “marriage is between one man and one woman” and “was ordained by God.”

However, he suggested the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell stands as the law of the land, and dodged Brennan’s question about whether the Court’s controversial 2015 decision ought to be enshrined into federal law.

“We can disagree with Supreme Court decisions, but we can’t disobey them,” Pence said. “I respect the pronouncements of the Court.”

The former vice president’s comments come after the so-called “Respect for Marriage” act to codify Obergefell cleared a major hurdle in the U.S. Senate last week when 12 Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to pass it in a 62-37 vote.

READ: Republicans join Democrats to advance same-sex ‘marriage’ bill in historic defeat for conservatives

Pence, who has generated speculation regarding a potential presidential run in 2024, told CBS on Sunday that despite his personal beliefs about marriage, “it’s just as important as we go forward as a nation, that we make it clear that we don’t believe in discrimination against anyone because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe.”

Pence clarified his comments by stressing the need to ensure protections for religious liberty.

“I think we need to make sure that we protect the religious freedom of every American that’s enshrined in the Constitution: the ability to live, to work, to worship, in a manner according to the dictates of your conscience,” he said, adding that in his view, “we’re getting there.”

“I think we’re moving forward as a nation and I look forward to continuing to express my values, but express them with compassion for every American whether they share my values or not,” he said.

However, carveouts in the “Respect for Marriage” act to accommodate for religious liberty have been markedly narrow in scope, leading conservatives to worry about the potential for legalized discrimination against people who reject same-sex “marriage” based upon their sincerely held beliefs.

As LifeSiteNews has reported, the bill’s religious freedom exceptions have focused solely on protecting religious nonprofits from being compelled to solemnize or celebrate a same-sex “marriage.” Notably lacking, as Catholic bishops and leading conservative organizations have pointed out, is any language shielding Christians or other people of faith who simply reject homosexual unions as a true form of “marriage.”

Meanwhile, Pence’s comments in the CBS interview didn’t exclusively focus on same-sex unions and their status under the law.

The former VP also addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic rollback of Roe v. Wade (1973) in June, which eliminated the federal “right to abortion.”

In the Sunday interview, Pence said he “always purposed to advance the sanctity of life” throughout his career, and “always believed that Roe v. Wade would be sent to the ash heap of history.”

Noting that, contrary to the claims of pro-abortion activists, the overturning of Roe did not ban abortion but merely sent the issue back to the states, Pence said he “will always support efforts to strengthen protections for the unborn,” including a national 15-week abortion ban like the one proposed in September by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.

“It may take as long to restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law in all 50 states as it did to overturn Roe v. Wade, but people that know me and my family know that so long as we live we’ll seek to be about the business of life in this country and doing our part to support [the] sanctity of life,” he said.

READ: Conservatives divided over timing of Lindsey Graham bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks

Pence raised eyebrows among pro-lifers when he spoke about in-vitro fertilization (IVF), a fertility practice that divorces conception from sex and frequently involves either storing the “extra” laboratory-made human embryos in freezers or otherwise destroying them.

The former vice president, who said he and his wife used IVF “many times” as they struggled with infertility, said he “fully support[s] fertility treatments” and believes “they deserve the protection of the law.”

“They gave us great comfort in those long and challenging years that we struggled with infertility in our marriage, and I do believe that as we work our way forward, we can protect the unborn, we can come along women in crisis pregnancies, and we can support the newborn with equal vigor,” he said.

LifeSite’s Matt Lamb noted that Pence and his wife, who were married in the Catholic Church but now attend Protestant services, reportedly first attempted “a form of assisted reproductive technology called Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer, which is not explicitly condemned by the Catholic Church.”

Fertility treatments like IVF, however, are condemned by the Catholic Church because they “entail the dissociation of husband and wife,” “infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage,” and “betray the spouses’ ‘right to become a father and a mother only through each other.’”