Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick this week urged a gathering of religious and social conservatives to become an army of supporters to help him and other Christian politicians oppose abortion, protect traditional marriage and defend the Constitution.
The Austin American-Statesman reports Patrick, a Republican, gave a speech at the Texas Faith and Family Day Forum at the Capitol that called people to action against what other speakers had called liberal attacks on traditional values. He said that, together, they could be leaders in education and job creation, but they also must be leaders for Christ.
Patrick's speech was followed by the symbolic cutting of two wedding cakes to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of a Texas constitutional amendment that limited marriage to opposite-sex couples.
State Rep. Cecil Bell, a Republican from Magnolia, was asked to slice one of the cakes in recognition of his bill which would withhold the pay of county clerks and government employees who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"My family's been in Texas since 1852," Bell said after the forum. "What has always been normal for us, we're suddenly being told it's not normal, that those things that are our traditional values, somehow they are wrong."
Texas is one of 13 states where same-sex couples are banned from marrying.
"We can be the leader in education, we can be the leader in creating jobs, we can be the leader in all that stuff, but we really need to be the leader for Christ," Patrick said at the end of his speech. "That's the answer, that's the hope that this state and country must look to. We need you as an army behind us, to stand for life, to stand for marriage, to stand just for the Constitution."