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NOM puts pressure on Pawlenty to sign marriage pledge

Tim Pawlenty is taking heat from the National Organization for Marriage for not signing the group’s pledge to oppose efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. On Thursday, the group announced that Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum had all signed the pledge. But while Pawlenty has hesitated to take the pledge, he gave the Miami Herald a piece of his mind on gay marriage on Thursday.

“What happened with Governor Pawlenty?” asked NOM head Brian Brown in an email to supporters on Thursday. “I have to be honest with you: I do not know.”

Brown’s sidekick, Maggie Gallagher, said she’d talked to Pawlenty’s campaign.

“Pawlenty’s communications director, Ann Marie Hauser, personally informed me on Tuesday that Tim Pawlenty would not sign NOM’s marriage pledge,” she said. “Like many people, we are scratching our heads wondering why Gov. Pawlenty, who has been a champion for marriage in Minnesota, would not commit to doing so for America.”

She added, “At this point, the people of Iowa need to know that Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are the only candidates willing to step forward and pledge to protect marriage in this campaign. We hope Gov. Pawlenty will reconsider.”

Brown urged NOM’s members to call Pawlenty’s campaign.

“I know you will be polite and civil. But he needs to hear from you that marriage is not just one of many issues; it’s a key issue as you consider voting for the presidency in the first of the nation’s caucuses, in Iowa.”

He added, “This is mission critical!”

The NOM pledge asks candidates to work for a federal constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, appoint judges and an attorney general “who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution,” create a commission to investigate harassment of “traditional marriage supporters,” and end same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.

Pawlenty addressed some of those issues in an interview with the Miami Herald on Thursday, where reporter Marc Caputo pressed Pawlenty on the perceived contradiction of state’s rights versus a federal ban on same-sex marriage:

Q: How about gay marriage?

Pawlenty: “When I was in the Minnesota Legislature, I was a co-author of the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I support a state and federal amendment to the constitutions defining amendments as such.”

Q: How do you support being a small-government conservative, yet favor this government limitation on private individuals?

Pawlenty: “The Constitution and our statutes and laws more broadly grant or prohibit all kinds of behaviors or rights. So I don’t think it’s out of bounds in that regard… We have courts who have demonstrated they think they know better than the people on our statutes. And they feel that they should insert their personal or political views into these matters. And the only way to limit court excesses in that regard is to put it in our statutes and our Constitution.”

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