December 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gingrich signs NOM’s anti-gay marriage pledge

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has penned his name to an anti-gay marriage pledge committing him to back a U.S. constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

In a statement Thursday, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, the group behind the pledge, announced Gingrich had joined other Republican hopefuls in signing the document.

Brian Brown, NOM’s president, crowed over securing the former U.S. House speaker’s name to the pledge.

“We commend Newt Gingrich for signing NOM’s presidential marriage pledge, committing himself to play a leadership role as president to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Brown said.

By signing the document, Gingrich promises upon election as president to undertake several initiatives against same-sex marriage:

• supporting congressional passage and sending to the states a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage throughout the country;

• defending in court the Defense of Marriage of Act, a 1996 law that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage;

• appointing judges and a U.S. attorney general who “will respect the original meaning” of the U.S. Constitution;

• supporting legislation allowing D.C. residents to vote on whether or not to abrogate the District’s same-sex marriage law;

• and appointing a presidential commission on “religious liberty.”

Other GOP candidates — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum — already penned their names to the pledge when NOM first announced it in August. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the document later in August after he entered the presidential race.

Notably, when the other presidential candidates signed their names to the pledge, the purpose of the proposed presidential commission was to “appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters.” But with the announcement of Gingrich signing his name to the pledge, the pledge has been changed to establishing “a presidential commission on religious liberty.” NOM didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on why the change was made.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement criticized Gingrich for aligning himself with NOM and said signing the document puts the candidate “on the wrong side of history.”

“Newt Gingrich’s signature to the NOM marriage pledge is just the latest indicator of how beholden the GOP presidential candidates are to anti-gay groups,” Solmonese said. “The tenets of the NOM pledge are rooted in hatred against LGBT Americans – by signing it, Gingrich and his fellow candidates are distancing themselves from mainstream opinion and taking an astonishingly extremist stance.”

The Gingrich campaign couldn’t be reached for comment on why he decided to sign the pledge.

Signing the NOM pledge is perhaps Gingrich’s strongest statement against marriage rights for gay couples since his candidacy began, but the former House speaker has long been an opponent of such rights. During his tenure as House speaker in the 1990s, Gingrich helped shepherd DOMA through Congress.

Gingrich has been in favor of a Federal Marriage Amendment since at least last year when U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. At the time Gingrich called on Congress “to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy.” He has also been critical of Obama’s decision to drop the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

Just this week, Gingrich sent a letter to the FAMiLY LEADER, an anti-gay group in Iowa, affirming the mission of the organization and pledging to defend DOMA in court and support a Federal Marriage Amendment. In the same letter, he promises to remain faithful to his wife. He’s admitted to committing adultery before.

The letter was in response to the FAMiLY LEADER’s 14-point document known as “THE MARRIAGE VOW: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY.” Bachmann, Santorum and Perry have signed the vow. Gingrich said he supports the group’s mission with his letter, but didn’t actually sign the pledge.

Gingrich had initially declined to sign the document, saying some of the language was problematic. The pledge makes a reference to Sharia law and reportedly initially stated children born into slavery in the 1860s were more likely to be raised by two parents than a black child born today. The slavery reference has since been removed.

During an interview Thursday with the Des Moines Register, Gingrich said he would sign legislation reinstating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He also said he believes being gay is a combination of “genetics and environment,” adding people have a “significant range of choice within a genetic pattern.” Asked whether being straight is a choice, Gingrich said, “Look, people choose to be celibate, people choose many things in life.”

Jerame Davis, interim executive director for the National Stonewall Democrats, said Gingrich committing himself to defend marriage is “about the same as Cookie Monster pledging to protect the cookie jar.”

“He certainly has a lot of experience with marriage with three under his belt now, but that does not make him an expert on the subject,” Davis said. “It’s the height of hypocrisy for someone with his marital history to pledge to deny marriage equality to loving gay and lesbian couples.”

Gingrich makes these anti-gay commitments as he continues to enjoy front-runner status among the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to run for the White House. According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll published Wednesday, Gingrich leads Romney among Republican voters nationwide by 28 percent to 18 percent.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Who? Onward to full civil and marriage equality rights now. Period. Case closed.
    Cheers, Joe Mustich, CT USA
    Marriage Officiant & Justice of the Peace.

  • If I were God, I’d send these self proclaimed christian representatives of myself to hell. They profess to spread the good news, but their own examples make people despise their faith.

  • “Well, THAT oughta distract the voters form whining about jobs, hunger, and all their brats being blown to bits in the Mideast!”

  • Anyone who wants to make the decision for themselves and their community (whether for or against) should vote for Dr. Paul because he will leave it up to the states to deal with the issue. For someone who is for small government Newt calls for alot of government intervention.

  • Gingrich can’t do enough to make himself as unelectable as possible. He comes up a brand new Grinch and Scrooge bigoted ant-gay assholiness every time he opens his mouth.
    NOM and Gingrich deserve each other, each pieces of scum just made for each other.

  • Guess now all of the
    GOP who are still in the closted and married are safe from having to admit they like men. Newt Included.

  • Maybe he can tell someone inhis family when a partner dies and they lose their residence to their partners family, and all that is in the house, then A Lawyer might do something.

  • All these republicans need to go f themselves. And all the so called christians that support this. My family is christians and my they say that god will forgive me for my sins no matter what. Yes im gay I have been with partner for 3 years and we raise my three kids. So republicans kiss my a**

    • God does forgive and will forgive all sins, but they must be forgiven beforeyour time runs out to receive the forgiveness. His word tells us that no sin can enter into the Kingdom and ur family should know this. Isaiah 6:9-10 shows where God got tired of people having this same mentality and refused to give them any more leaveway. Hosea 4:6 tells us if we continue to ignore this knowledge we will be destroyed. they laws of the earth and the minds of man can change, but God nor his law has never changed. there is no justification for an abomination no matter how passionate people my become about it.

  • The republican front-runner – notoriously commitment-phobic – has finally committed. Yes, and her name is Maggie… well, Margaret probably. But unfortunately, yet again, she is not the woman Newt Gingrich is married to! Oh, poor man, committing adultery yet AGAIN, with a woman he has probably never even met, if you can believe that :( The guy gets around!!

    The time has come for America to adopt a new No-Christian-Evangelism Amendment. If you believe… then fine. But you may not “recruit” any more. You may not “promote” your “lifestyle”, which is always hypocritical anyway. You are all hereby BANNED from speaking in public about a christian “god”. Or else you get a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Really. If it’s good enough for Uganda and Nigeria, then it’s good enough for me and America.

    You will be silenced by the new majority. Sorry, but our country’s sanity, standing in the world, and national security demands it. What did you expect? Reality always trumps wishful thinking. Always.

    • Well, you must be Gay. Only in America do you have such reprehensible rights. You go to Uganda or Nigeria and profess being Gay and you’ll find out what a machete is about. Not only are Adulterers outcast or killed, so are homosexuals.You people are just as “bigoted” as you portray the right wingers to be. I have nothing against you living how you choose, but to ask me to support it…forget it! If someone doesn’t agree with you, they are dirt under your feet. This is America, EVERYONE has a right to have their own opinion and express it without repercussions! The majority of people do not agree with your lifestyle, but you have the right to choose. But don’t ask us to legalize something that nobody else on the planet has, or plans to. I’m not a Homophobic, Iam not afraid of Gay…just disgusted by it.

  • You may like my video about Newt’s three marriages at
    There are chickens in it. Everybody loves chickens!

  • NOM seems to be the new RED SCARE, only instead of communists they are scapegoating law abiding, tax paying LGBT American Citizens. If any of these Republican yahoos get close to the White House, LGBT Americans can kiss their civil rights goodbye.

  • thats jacked up if gay people wanna get married let them get married people are homophobic if 2 gay men are in Maine the shouldnt have to go to califoria to get married

  • I love my religious brothers, but at the same time don’t understand why the need to sign a pledge so ridiculously hateful and counterproductive, its not like the Democrats are signing pledges to end religion or go after the religious. It just makes no sense to people who use their brain.

  • I’m gay and i just find what he doing offending no one who has a hate toward a certain way a person wants to live should be able to run for president it will be a sad day if this fool becomes president.

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