Maggie Gallagher has praised presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum for pledging to oppose gay marriage.

The three candidates were the first to sign the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) 5-point pledge promising to work against marriage equality. NOM is the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage.

Signers to the pledge promise to support a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, appoint judges and an attorney general who will “respect the original meaning of the Constitution,” appoint a presidential commission to investigate the “harassment of traditional marriage supporters,” and back legislation that would allow a ballot question on the issue for voters of the District of Columbia.

Appearing on a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) segment, Gallagher, NOM's board chair, called Bachmann, Romney and Santorum “marriage champions” and chided former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who opposes gay marriage, for not joining them.

“Three marriage champions have emerged,” Gallagher said. “These are candidates who [are] willing to go beyond saying they support one man, one woman marriage – which even President Obama claims he supports – and commit to some concrete actions to protect marriage, if they are the leader of the free world and the president of the United States.”

“The big question is really what's going to happen with Governor Tim Pawlenty, who explicitly declined to sign NOM's marriage pledge this week. We're hoping the governor changes his mind, because we think it's pretty peculiar for Governor Pawlenty, who's been a champion for marriage in Minnesota, to refuse to do the same for the people of America.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

On Monday, NOM will launch a bus tour traveling from Des Moines and arriving at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames four days later.