Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called the gay marriage debate a distraction on Sunday — but prominent evangelical leader Tony Perkins said that’s the wrong way to handle the issue.

“President Obama brought this issue up because he can’t run on his record,” Cornyn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.

Echoing the response from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier in the week, Cornyn said Obama is raising social issues like gay marriage in “an attempt to distract the country” from the slow pace of economic recovery.

Obama said this week that he had “evolved” on the issue of same-sex marriage and now believes gay couples should be able to marry. Republicans have criticized his stance and said marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but have also tried to pivot back to discussing the economy.