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Three GOP candidates sign marriage pledge

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum have signed a pledge sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, promising they will fight to prevent same-sex couples from marrying and will place a litmus test on all potential judicial appointments, if elected President.

NOM announced on Thursday that the three had signed the group’s pledge to oppose marriage for same-sex couples at the federal level. The pledge includes support for a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

The New Jersey-based NOM, which opposes marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples, announced the pledge as it, as a part of a three-group coalition, gears up for a 22-city Values Voters Bus Tour of Iowa. The tour is expected to include Santorum as well as Pawlenty, who has yet to sign the pledge.

“Marriage is an issue with an unbroken string of victories that unites Republicans, and we’re pleased and honored the leading candidates in the race for the GOP nomination have spoken up for marriage,” said NOM President Brian Brown. “We expect the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina will continue to reward candidates who champion marriage.”

The pledge asked candidates to support five of the group’s goals:

  • Support and send to the states a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman;
  • Defend DOMA in court;
  • Appoint judges and an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution;
  • Appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters; and
  • Support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage

The pledge, according to NOM, was offered to “all serious announced candidates for the GOP nomination,” and will be extended to others, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, if they enter the field.

An earlier, more controversial pledge circulated by Iowa-based The Family Leader, known as “The Marriage Vow,” was nearly immediately signed by both Bachmann and Santorum. Romney had strong reservations to the Iowa effort and ultimately refused to sign, as has the rest of the 2012 field.

In lieu of getting support from 2012 candidates, The Family Leader instead placed the pledge on its website and opened it to signatures of support from anyone. Those who sign, however, pledge not only to abide by the bullet points outlined for 2012 candidates, but to refuse support, shoe-leather or monetary, from any elected official or politician who does not also agree to the document.

Yet Romney’s stances in relation to both pledges appears to differ greatly from statements he made in 1994, when he ran for a U.S. Senate against the late Ted Kennedy:

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