In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Santorum said Sens. Mark KirkMark KirkJuan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (R-Ill.) and Rob PortmanRob PortmanSenators to Trump: Get tough on Russia over Ukraine John Glenn dies at 95 John Glenn hospitalized MORE (R-Ohio), the first sitting GOP senators to back gay marriage, would not herald a wider shift in the party’s stance.

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“The Republican Party’s not going to change on this issue. In my opinion it would be suicidal if it did,” said Santorum, a 2012 GOP presidential contender.

Santorum said he understood that the party needed to publicly debate the issue, but said “it’s another thing to change those fundamental principles.” 

“Just because some of those things happen to be popular right now doesn’t mean the Republican Party should follow suit,” he continued.

The comments from Santorum, a favorite of the GOP’s social conservative base, come as polls show growing support for same-sex marriage among the public and amid a wave of Democratic senators endorsing equal rights for gay couples. 

On Monday, Sen. Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE became the latest to announce his support for same-sex marriage, leaving just three Democrats in the Senate who are still opposed to gay marriage: Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenate Democrats dig in as shutdown approaches Overnight Energy: Fight over miners' benefits risks shutdown | Flint aid crosses finish line in House Overnight Healthcare: Burwell huddles with Dems on fighting ObamaCare repeal MORE (W.Va.), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuFive unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (La.) and Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (Ark.).

But GOP lawmakers have been more reluctant to shift their stance. 

Gay rights advocates are hopeful that the growing public support will usher in the striking down of prohibitions on same-sex marriage. 

The Supreme Court last month also held hearings on cases challenging California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, which denies benefits to same-sex couples.

But Santorum predicted the court would be reluctant to issue a broad ruling endorsing gay rights.

“I think you’ll see, hopefully, a chastened Supreme Court is not going to make the same mistake in the cases as they did in Roe v. Wade,” he said, referencing the landmark ruling legalizing abortion. 

“I’m hopeful the Supreme Court learned its lesson about trying to predict where the American public is going on issues and trying to find rights in the Constitution that sit with the fancy of the day,” he added.

Santorum, who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses narrowly over eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney will speak at a fundraiser for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition next week.

But Santorum said he had not made “any decisions” about whether he would run again.