Newt Gingrich said Monday he will not join fellow presidential contenders Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum in signing a controversial pledge supporting traditional marriage. Following a decision by the group that created the pledge to delete language suggesting that the black family had fared better under slavery, the former House speaker said Monday that he would like to see the document undergo more revisions before signing it, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told Hotline On Call.
Gingrich made his stance known during an event for the group that created the pledge-- Iowa conservative Christian organization called the Family Leader.
Yesterday, The Ticket reported that the group had decided over the weekend to remove the slavery language after the public questioned why Minnesota Rep. Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum would support that sentiment. (Bachmann's camp argues the congresswoman had only agreed to sign a 14 point pledge, not the preamble containing the slavery language.)
But the remaining pledge is still fraught with passages about homosexuality, pornography, women in the military and marriage that are continuing to draw fire from critics. And Gingrich would seem to share at least some of their reservations.
Provisions in the document ask candidates to declare support for the following measures: termination of military leaders who put female soldiers in compromising positions related to forward combat roles; "safeguards" for married and unmarried active and inactive members of the military against same or opposite gender harassment, adultery and "intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds"; "evidence" that marriage leads to better health, sex, longevity and fewer cases of addiction; a "cooling off period" prior to "quickie" divorces; a ban on pornography; and fidelity to his or her spouse.
[You can read the full pledge via the Family Leader: here.]
Gingrich informed the group's president Bob Vander Plaats that he would like to change the language in the pledge before he signs it. Hammond declined to identify which provisions Gingrich would change.
Gingrich has a history of infidelity and divorces, which has posed a challenge in promoting his candidacy to evangelical conservatives.
No additional GOP presidential contenders have yet publicly reported an intention to sign the pledge.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Texas Rep. Ron Paul said Monday they're still reviewing the document, the Des Moines Register reports.
Businessman Herman Cain, who is black, told the Register he is hesitant about signing the pledge after hearing that it contained controversial language but said he hadn't read it himself.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, an underdog candidate known for his libertarian streak, blasted the pledge as discriminatory, un-Republican and offensive. "This type of rhetoric is what gives Republicans a bad name," Johnson said in a statement.