DES MOINES — Texas Governor Rick Perry, looking to jump start his floundering presidential campaign, has signed the extreme anti-gay pledge that requires GOP candidates to be faithful to their spouses, appoint bigoted judges to the federal bench if elected, and “vigorously oppose” same-sex unions.
“The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family,” is the creation of “The Family Leader,” an Iowa-based conservative Christian group.
The pledge includes 14 bullet points that signers must agree to, including opposition to any “redefinition of marriage,” likens same-sex couples to polygamists and adulterers, and states that homosexuality is both a choice and a health risk.
The Family Leader is headed by Iowa Republican homophobe Bob Vander Plaats, leader of the effort that resulted in the voter recall of three Iowa supreme court justices last November.
“We believe that the candidates’ positions on core values, such as marriage, correlate directly to his/her moral stances on energy issues, sound budgeting policies, national defense, and economic policies,” Vander Plaats said in a statement.
Vander Plaats has said signing the pledge will be a prerequisite for the group’s endorsement, one coveted among candidates seeking to nab the evangelical vote.
Perry is looking to salvage his presidential bid — a Gallup Poll released Monday places him a distant fifth nationally in the contest for the GOP nomination.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have both signed the vow. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney called the pledge “undignified and inappropriate,” and refused to sign it.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has indicated he would sign it if he could make a few modifications. Gingrich has been married three times; the first two marriages ended in divorce after he committed adultery with women who would become his second and third wives.
Vander Plaats has said the vow of marriage fidelity doesn’t apply to past behavior, but only looking forward.