Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has declined to sign the controversial marriage pledge from the prominent Iowa social conservative group the FAMiLY LEADER, the Des Moines Register reports.At an event hosted by the FAMiLY LEADER in Iowa yesterday, Gingrich told the organisation’s founder Bob Vander Plaats that he would like to see some of the language changed before signing.
The pledge — “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence on MARRIAGE and FAMiLY” (the lower-case i in FAMiLY indicates the subordination of the individual) — focuses primarily on same-sex marriage, but has come under fire for additional provisions that ostensibly call for bans on pornography and “Sharia Islam.”
The original version of the pledge, signed by presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, suggested that black children born during slavery were better off than black children born today. The group has since apologized for the remark and removed all references to slavery from the pledge.
Candidates who sign the vow also promise to be faithful to their spouses.
Plaats, a Christian Right kingmaker in the Hawkeye State, has said he will not endorse any candidate who does not sign the pledge.
This puts the thrice-married Gingrich in an awkward position among social conservatives. The former House Speaker’s marital history is widely known and he has admitted to infidelities in his previous marriages.
Long-shot Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the former Governor of Mexico, has also refused to sign the pledge.
“In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting,” Johnson said in a statement to Politico.
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