Rosie O'Donnell on Tuesday said the anti-gay rhetoric of GOP presidential candidates is “shocking in 2012.”

O'Donnell, the host of cabler OWN's The Rosie Show, made her remarks during an appearance on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.

“We're a backward nation in many ways,” O'Donnell told host Piers Morgan. “That's one of the ways most evident nowadays especially with the election – to think that you can turn on the presidential debate and you can have people actually say that they think being gay is wrong is shocking in 2012. It's shocking to me.”

O'Donnell added that she was particularly offended by Rick Perry's controversial ad titled Strong, in which Perry says there is something wrong with America when gay troops can serve openly in the military but children cannot openly celebrate Christmas.

The ad, O'Donnell said, was released about the same time she had announced her engagement to girlfriend Michelle Rounds.

“I remember being home that weekend and having just announced that we were engaged and being around Chicago and getting this overwhelming support from everyone and then watching this ad of this man who basically said, 'Well, I just don't believe that you people have the same rights as other people in this country.' That's not what America was founded on. It was hurtful and shocking. In the wake of all these teen suicides and gay bullying, I don't understand why politicians or anybody thinks they can get away with that.” (Watch the exchange at