Rick Perry is making a major play for social conservatives in Iowa, a state he must win to revive his struggling Republican presidential bid.
The Texas governor on Monday signed a controversial marriage pledge sponsored by the Family Leader, an influential Iowa conservative group.
Among other things, signers "solemnly vow" to uphold the legal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, remain faithful to their spouses and appoint "faithful constitutionalists" to the federal bench.
The pledge also calls on signers to back a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution and roll back what the group believes are "anti-marriage" provisions in divorce, tax and welfare laws. Signers also vow to reject Islamic sharia law and to oppose pornography.
Perry is the third candidate to sign the pledge. Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann signed the vow last summer which Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Iowa conservative who heads up the Family Leader, has said is required to winning the group's endorsement.
The group's original pledge sparked controversy after it included language that suggested black children born into slavery had a better life than black children born today. The Family Leader later removed the language, but some candidates, including Newt Gingrich, still refused to sign the document—saying it needed more revisions.
A Perry spokesman told the Des Moines Register the governor made no modifications to the pledge before signing it. The governor's appeal comes as he struggles to gain traction in a state that could make or break his 2012 bid.
A Bloomberg Poll of likely GOP caucus-goers in the state found Perry with just 7 percent support in the state—trailing rivals Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich who were statistically tied for the lead in the state.
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