AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas Republicans running for the top statewide offices unanimously oppose expanding protections based on sexual orientation.

An Associated Press survey shows that GOP candidates support the state s gay marriage ban and most say local ordinances that prohibit gay discrimination violate other people s freedom of religion. Some candidates also say gays, lesbians and the transgendered don t face significant discrimination.

The AP sent six questions to the Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

The responses come as the gay rights debate has heated up. The Texas National Guard recently refused a Pentagon directive to process applications for military benefits for same-sex couples.

The state s GOP heavyweights also waged an unsuccessful effort to block San Antonio from becoming the latest Texas city to pass a discrimination ordinance protecting gays.

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