Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt
Romney on Tuesday became the highest profile 2012 presidential
candidate to reject an anti-gay marriage pledge, the AP reported.
The pledge, titled The Marriage Vow:
A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family, was
introduced last week by the Iowa-based Christian conservative group
The Family Leader. It asks presidential candidates to “vigorously”
oppose marriage equality, be faithful to their own spouse, vow to
protect women and children from pornography and reject Sharia law
because it is a “form of totalitarian control.” The group,
influential among social conservatives, has said it will not endorse
any candidate that does not sign the pledge.
The group drew heated criticism for
including the passage that an African-America baby born into slavery
in 1860 was more likely to be raised in a two-parent household than
after the nation elected its first African-American president.
The group removed the passage, but not
before two candidates signed: Minnesota Representative Michele
Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Both
candidates virulently oppose gay rights.
Goldberg rants on Michele Bachmann's signing of anti-gay marriage
The Associated Press reported
that Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, said that while he
“strongly supports traditional marriage,” the oath “contained
references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for
a presidential campaign.”
The 14-point pledge also ironically
asks candidates to have “Respect for the marital bonds of others,”
and footnotes suggest that being gay is a choice that may have a
negative impact on public health.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
over the weekend called the pledge “offensive
and unrepublican” and “nothing short of a promise to discriminate
against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn't fit into a
particular definition of 'virtue.'”
Jon Huntsman, the former Governor of
Utah and U.S. ambassador to China, has declined to sign any pledge as
part of his campaign.
Other candidates, including former
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who spoke on Monday at a The Family
Leader event in Iowa, and former Minnesota Government Tim Pawlenty,
have not announced whether they'll sign the pledge.