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Rick Perry defends opponents of same-sex marriage

Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

As the Supreme Court settles in this week to hear two landmark cases about same-sex marriage, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, is doubling down on his own opposition to marriage equality.

The failed 2012 presidential candidate - who has said he may run again in 2016 -- spoke today at the Texas Faith and Family Day Rally, in Austin, where he reiterated a message grounded in socially conservative values.

He particularly lamented the notion that, in contemporary society, "something as wholesome and unassuming as a nativity scene at Christmas can generate contentious lawsuits and years of ill will," and that "when a person can be vilified for stating they believe that, fundamentally, marriage is between a man and a woman."

"The underlying problem is there's a very vocal and very litigious minority of Americans willing to legally attack anybody who dares utter a phrase, or even a name, they don't agree with," Perry said, according to his prepared remarks. "We are a nation built upon a free exchange of ideas. We are also a culture built upon the concept that the original law is God's law outlined in the Ten Commandments, the moral basis for legal codes across our country and around the world."

Perry referenced today's Supreme Court hearings, on a challenge to California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and said "the Supreme Court is currently deciding if it's going to trump the votes of our citizens and state capitols to again judicially legislate morality."

"This is a very unsettling time in our nation's history," he said.

Perry, a devout Christian, also argued that the world should be "free from abortion" - even though he acknowledged "we've got a ways to go" toward that goal.