Three Republican candidates vying for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas have attacked rival Tom Leppert for supporting the gay community, gay weekly the Dallas Voice reported.

Leppert appeared in two gay Pride parades while serving as mayor of Dallas.

Fellow candidates Ted Cruz, Craig James and Lela Pittenger attacked Leppert during a debate luncheon hosted by the Christian conservative group Eagle Forum.

“When the mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay Pride, that's a statement, and it's not a statement I agree with,” Cruz said in arguing that Leppert supports gay marriage.

Leppert insisted he's opposed to marriage equality, but added that he had “visited with groups that didn't agree with what I said.”

James, a former NFL player, said Leppert was not setting a good example.

“I think right now this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is gonna be hard to stop, if we don't stand up with leaders who don't go ride in gay parades. I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade. And I hear what you're saying, Tom, but leaders, our kids out there and people need to see examples. … If you are chosen as our senator, and be a leader, and not do things like that. We need examples for our kids.”

James added that he thinks being gay is a choice.

“I think it's a choice, I do,” he said. “You have to make that choice, absolutely. … Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, then that's them, and God's going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions, but in that case right there, they're going to have to answer to the lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions. It should not occur. We have to stay strong on this.”

Pittenger said she would not “walk down the street with them [gays] celebrating what I believe to be a sin.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)