Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) stood before conservatives gathered at a Faith and Family Rally in Austin on Tuesday and spoke about what he perceives as a sustained attack on their values by gay rights activists.
“This is a very unsettling time in our nation’s history,” Perry said, according to the Associated Press. “These are the days when a person is vilified when they state that they believe fundamentally that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Perry spoke just hours after the Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban. On Wednesday, the justices will consider a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Perry went on to suggest that the decision by LGBT rights advocates to fight for equal treatment was proof that they were themselves intolerant.
“The underlying problem is that there is this very vocal, very litigious minority of Americans willing to legally attack anybody who dares utter a phrase or even a name that they don’t agree with,” he said. “In a twisting of logic, they insist on silencing the religious in the cause of tolerance. Now I ask you, where is the tolerance in that?”
The Austin American-Statesman reports that a heckler in the back of the crowd disagreed with Perry's remarks, yelling that the governor was finished politically.
Perry has been a consistent opponent of gay rights throughout his tenure as governor. He's supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and helped usher through a 2005 state ballot amendment that officially defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. During his 2012 GOP presidential campaign, Perry put his fight against gay rights front and center with a campaign ad that quickly became one of the most disliked videos on YouTube.
On Tuesday, Perry told reporters that Texas was "fairly clear about where" it stands on gay marriage.
"The people of the state of Texas, myself included, believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” Perry said, according to the Dallas Morning News.