Rafael Cruz, a Christian celebrity and the father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, has praised Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore's defiance of a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban as unconstitutional.

Appearing on Eagle Forum Live, the elder Cruz praised Moore for ordering probate judges to ignore the ruling and not issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

“Something very exciting that has happened is what happened in Alabama with Justice Roy Moore,” Cruz said. “And so what [he and the Alabama Supreme Court] are doing is asserting that the state has supremacy and basically all of these laws were for the state to make those decisions, not the federal court. The federal court is overreaching and it is actually legislating from the bench, contrary to the opinion of the majority of the American people.”

Cruz warned that a Supreme Court ruling striking down such bans as unconstitutional would lead to pastors being forced to marry gay and lesbian couples, something which has yet to occur in any of the dozens of states where gay couples can marry.

“What is going to come next, and this is part of the danger of what may happen out of the Supreme Court in June, is that if marriage of anybody-with-anybody becomes a civil rights issue, then they are going to come to churches and force pastors to violate their religious convictions. And so it is going to come to America to where a pastor is going to be faced with a decision: do you obey a law that is not only unjust but violates your core principles, or do you obey God and face prison?”

“This is the dilemma that America's pastors are going to be facing if this issue is labeled a civil rights issue,” he added. “It goes way beyond marriage to actually violate the religious freedom of people of faith.”

Last week, Senator Cruz became the first official candidate for president in the 2016 election.