Perry says American values are threatened by gay rights
RICK Perry (pictured) is seeking to woo the Christian Right and save his campaign for the US presidency by attacking boosts to gay rights under President Barack Obama as a "war" on ordinary Americans.
The governor of Texas, whose support has sharply fallen since his brief spell as front-runner in September, accused the president of encouraging a "lifestyle" that many found "deeply objectionable".
In a new television advertisement, he said: "There's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."
Earlier this year Mr Obama ended "don't ask, don't tell", the 1990s policy that let gays serve in the military only if they kept their sexuality secret. Federal law bans prayer in public schools.
Mr Perry's remark appeared aimed at conservative voters in Iowa, the first state to have its say in the Republican race next month, where he is trailing a distant fourth.
Mr Perry's comments were criticised by gay Republican groups as offensive to troops who risked their lives for the US.
Mr Perry this week dismissed an instruction from Mr Obama to all US diplomats to use aid funds to promote equality for gays overseas as "silly" and part of a "war on traditional American values".
He added: "Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americans of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong." (© Daily Telegraph, London)