Rick Perry Signs Pledge to Defend Traditional Marriage

Rick Perry is the latest Republican presidential candidate to sign a pledge, saying he will commit to defend marriage as a union between one man and one woman if elected.

Perry joins Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in adding his name to the pledge written by the National Organization for Marriage.

"Kudos to Gov. Rick Perry for making it clear: he's a marriage champion!" said Brian Brown, president of NOM, in a statement Friday. "The purpose of NOM's Marriage Pledge is to move from vague values statements to concrete actions to protect marriage."

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The Texas governor's decision to endorse the marriage pledge comes weeks after he stirred controversy when he said New York's decision to legalize same-sex marriage was "their business" and "fine with me."

He later clarified to Washington-based conservative group Family Research Council that he "probably needed to add a few words after that 'it's fine with me.'"

"It's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue," he told FRC. "Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed."

He then defended his record as governor of Texas, saying that it shows a "very strong commitment to defending traditional marriage."

Perry added that he adamantly opposes efforts by liberal special interest groups to redefine marriage for the nation.

Signers of the NOM pledge commit to:

  • Supporting a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and woman to the states for ratification
  • Nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and to applying the original meaning of the Constitution ... and thus reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution
  • Defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court
  • Establishing a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage
  • Advancing legislation to return to the people of the District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage

Brown of NOM said of Perry's decision to sign the pledge, "By doing so, Perry makes crystal clear that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, gay marriage is going to be a bigger issue in 2012 than it was in 2008, because the difference between the GOP nominee and Pres. Obama is going to be large and clear."

It has been only two weeks since Perry announced that he is running for president. But a new Gallup Poll, released Wednesday, reveals that the governor is already a favorite for the 2012 GOP nomination.

According to the poll, 29 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they are most likely to support Perry. Romney came in second with 17 percent saying they prefer him, and Ron Paul received 13 percent of the respondents' support.

Frequent churchgoers and conservative respondents were found to be more likely to support Perry compared to the other GOP candidates. Thirty-three percent of those who identified as conservative said they would pick the Texas governor and 34 percent of those who attend church weekly said the same.

Perry is scheduled to participate in the Reagan Centennial GOP Candidates Debate on Sept. 7 in Southern California and in the CNN/Tampa Tea Party Express Debate on Sept. 12 in Florida.

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