Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich has affirmed his support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but stopped short of signing a controversial marriage pledge that calls for “vigorous” opposition to same-sex marriage rights.
In a letter Monday to “The Family Leader” — a conservative traditional values organization headed by Iowa Republican homophobe Bob Vander Plaats — Gingrich said he advocated a federal constitutional amendment that would deny marriage rights to same-sex couples, and that he promises to “oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman.”
Gingrich’s letter comes as a response to the group’s anti-gay marriage pledge that it has been pressuring GOP candidates to sign as a condition of consideration of an endorsement by the Family Leader. Gingrich previously declined to sign the Iowa group’s marriage pledge because of concerns over wording.
The pledge — “The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family” — 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 pledge also calls for candidates to take a vow of marriage fidelity — but Vander Plaats said the the vow doesn’t apply to past behavior, only looking forward.
Gingrich, who 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 — made the following pledge about his own marriage:
“I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others,” he wrote.
In his letter Monday, Gingrich also said he would “vigorously enforce” the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage. President Obama earlier this year instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the law after a federal judge ruled in 2010 that DOMA was unconstitutional.