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Sen. Flake: ‘Inevitable’ a GOP presidential candidate will back same-sex marriage

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) said Sunday it was “inevitable” a GOP presidential candidate will one day support same-sex marriage, and that he would have no problem backing that candidate.

“I think that’s inevitable,” Flake said on NBC’s Meet the Press, when asked if the Republican party would ever see such a candidate. “There will be one and I think he’ll receive Republican support, or she will. So I think yes, the answer is yes.”

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Still, Flake said his personal views on the issue would not change during his time in the Senate.

“I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, I still hold to the traditional definition of marriage,” he said. “In the past I supported repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I supported the Non-Discrimination Act as well, but I hold to the traditional definition of marriage.”

A host of high-profile Democrat senators recently announced their support for same-sex unions ahead of oral arguments at the Supreme Court last week on two gay marriage cases.

The only GOP senator to fully endorse gay marriage is Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who announced his support earlier this month, citing his openly gay son as a motivating factor.

Fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) has said that her view on same-sex marriage is "evolving." 

Recent polls show a dramatic shift in public acceptance of gay rights, provoking many on the right to take a softer line on the issue. 

Last week, GOP strategist Karl Rove said he “could” see a 2016 GOP contender backing gay marriage.