Rick Perry has said yesterday that his marriage to wife Anita was not a commitment between just the two of them, but a promise to God.
His official statement was: “I didn’t make an oath just to myself. I made an oath to God when I married my wife. I think it’s an important issue. But the American people will figure out these issues and work their way through them.”
The statement comes as a reply to a question asked about fellow campaigner New Gingrich’s marriages. Gingrich has been married three times, Perry only once.
Perry’s website tells the story of how he met and dated Anita, then asked her to marry him 16 years later. Gingrich, on the other hand, is known for his marriages to Jackie Battley, Marianne Ginther, and now wife Callista.
The statement from Perry comes the day after he released a new campaign ad deriding President Obama’s “war on religion.”
Perry said, “I’m not afraid to talk about my Christian faith. I’m not afraid to talk about the values that this country was based upon.”
In a 2007 interview with Dr. James Dobson, Gingrich addressed his marital past and infidelity. He told Dobson, “There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There’s certainly times when I’ve fallen short of God’s standards.”
Gingrich admitted that he had had an affair and said, “There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them. I look back on those at periods of weakness and periods that I’m…not proud of.”
Critics say that Perry’s comments imply that Gingrich broke his oath to God by divorcing his first two wives. Yet Gingrich has explained that he has sought forgiveness from and made peace with God.
As of press time, Gingrich has not responded to Perry’s comments.