OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Newt Gingrich said Friday that, even if he does not endorse gay marriage, he supports the process states are using to consider same-sex marriage bills. 

Washington state and Maryland have both passed same-sex marriage bills.

Asked about the efforts, Gingrich said: "I think at least they're doing it the right way, which is going through voters, giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will."

"I don't agree with it, I would vote no if it were on a referendum where I was, but at least they're doing it the right way," he said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry got in hot water with social conservatives when, as a presidential candidate, he said gay rights as a state issue is "fine with me." 

He later had to clarify his remarks in an interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins saying, "It's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance has not changed." 

Perry's comments were characterized as "incomprehensible" by critics, among them Rick Santorum who said he would work to overturn any such state laws as president.