After initially refusing to sign when he was behind in the polls, Newt Gingrich as frontrunner in the GOP 2012 Presidential race is reported to have signed the Family Leader "The Marriage Vow" pledge. However, whether or not he actually signed seems to be up in the air.
The news magazine Slate added at 3:17 ET:
But now, it seems, he has changed his mind. USA Today reports Gingrich has now signed the pledge, which, among other things, commits him to supporting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
In a letter explaining his support for the pledge, circulated by the Iowa Family Leader, Gingrich wrote, “I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.” Politico has the full letter here.
What could have changed between July, when Gingrich decided not to sign the document, and today? Well, for one thing, he’s now the clear frontrunner in Iowa—but the state’s evangelical voters are torn over his history of affairs, Bloomberg News reports. The Family Leader itself is torn between Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum as it eyes a candidate endorsement, the Washington Post explains.
USA Today reported at 2:59 ET yesterday that Gingrich affirmed his support for the Marriage Vow Pledge by issuing a statement agreeing with the group's advocacy of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (DOMA), and rejection of Sharia law (among other things on the list), and has solidified his fidelity to his own marriage, as The Marriage Vow" states that it is the belief of those who drafted it that a presidential candidates own moral beliefs contribute directly to the policies that candidate would promote as President of the United States. The GOP candidates who have actually signed it include Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry. Is issuing a statement agreeing with the Pledge the same as actually signing it?
CNN reported as well that Gingrich signed the pledge (at least, it its caption), but actually reported he only issued a statement supporting most of the pledge. CNN also reported that his apparent support for the Pledge doesn't mean that Gingrich will get the organization's endorsement, according to influential social conservative Bob Vander Plaats:
The New York Times disagreed with Slate at 3:56 pm ET yesterday, saying that Gingrich did not sign the pledge, but simply issued a statement agreeing with the major tenets of the Pledge:
So Mr. Gingrich did not actually sign the pledge, but he did put out a statement saying that he’s in total agreement with absolutely everything in the Family Leader pledge. Mr. Gingrich’s letter to The Family Leader, released by his campaign, said: “I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.”
Well OK then. That’s done. Just one question. Wasn’t that kind of covered by the marriage vows?
Finally, the Wall Street Journal also stated at 5:47 pm ET yesterday that Gingrich did not sign the pledge, but merely affirmed it in a statement.
Thrice-married Newt Gingrich vowed fidelity to his wife and opposition to gay marriage in a 680-word statement to The Family Leader, an Iowa social conservative advocacy group that has its own marriage pledge.
Mr. Gingrich didn’t sign that pledge, which opposes gay marriage and Sharia Islamic law, among other things. Three other GOP presidential hopefuls have signed it.
Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Iowan who heads the group, said he pressed Mr. Gingrich to sign the “Marriage Vow” this summer, but at the time, the Gingrich campaign “was viewed as dead on arrival.” On Monday, Mr. Vander Plaats chuckled as he characterized Mr. Gingrich’s response as “Typical professor-like: ‘Let me respond with my own statement.’” He said he didn’t know why Mr. Gingrich embraced the pledge now.
Mr. Gingrich wrote that he would “pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.” Mr. Gingrich has acknowledged that he had been unfaithful in the past, and has said extramarital affairs are legitimate issues for voters to consider. His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He has said he disagrees with some of the pledge’s wording.
What exactly Gingrich disagrees with in terms of wording has not yet (that we can find) been disclosed publicly.