BOSTON (AP) -- Aides to Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown say he opposes a federal marriage amendment backed by GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney that would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Brown, who opposed gay marriage as a state lawmaker, hasn’t said whether he’s changed his mind on same-sex marriages, which he called "settled law" in Massa chusetts.
Brown said the question whether to legalize gay marriage should be left to individual states.
"Here in Massachusetts, gay marriage has been settled law for nearly a decade, and I continue to believe that states should be able to decide this issue," Brown said in a written statement. "Regardless of how states choose to define marriage, I believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect."
Brown’s chief Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren backs gay marriage.
Brown’s statement comes as President Barack Obama said he personally supports gay marriage. Aides said the president’s shift wouldn’t change current policies and he also believes marriage is an issue best decided by states.
Gay rights activists in Massachusetts seized on Obama’s statement to criticize Brown.
State Rep. Liz Malia, a Boston Democrat, said Brown’s actions don’t match his rhetoric.
"As someone who knew Scott Brown as a colleague in the Massachusetts Legis lature, I know that Scott Brown has a long, long history of opposing LGBT equality," said Malia, who is gay.
Activists point to Brown’s support for the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of gay marriages.