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Cain, Pawlenty also decline ‘The Marriage Vow’
Two more 2012 Republican hopefuls have decided against signing onto “The Marriage Vow,” a social conservative pledge announced last week by Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader. In the wake of the announcements, Vander Plaats is speaking out against critics of the pledge, saying that the document is being misrepresented by the media.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a statement to members of the media Wednesday afternoon noting both his continued focus on social conservative values and his intention to not sign The Family Leader document.
Mary and I have been married for almost 24 years and have been blessed with two wonderful daughters. In all we do, we remain committed to our core values that are set out in scripture. We are saved by grace. As Christians we are to speak the truth, but to do so with love.
Voters have a right to know about their leaders’ faith and values, and how those beliefs may shape their decisions. To that end, today my campaign released a new video in which both Mary and I speak directly and openly about our faith. I fully support traditional marriage. Unequivocally. The traditional family faces enormous challenges in America, and if elected I would vigorously oppose any effort to redefine marriage as anything other than between one man and one woman.
I deeply respect, and share, Bob Vander Plaats’ commitment to promoting the sanctity of marriage, a culture of life, and the core principles of the Family Leader’s Marriage Vow Pledge. However, rather than sign onto the words chosen by others, I prefer to choose my own words, especially seeking to show compassion to those who are in broken families through no fault of their own.
I respectfully decline to sign the pledge.
Likewise, Atlanta businessman Herman Cain sent his statement under the subject line of “Cain reaffirms commitment to traditional American values.” In lieu of signing The Marriage Vow pledge, Cain issued the following statement:
I stand firmly with The Family Leader and share their vision and commitment to supporting traditional values in American society.
I am, and will continue to be, an ardent defender of traditional marriage and will work to preserve and protect the sanctity of human life, which I believe begins at conception.
While I commend their intent regarding the pledge, I believe my stated position encompasses their values without the need to sign the pledge.
Shortly following the candidate announcements, Vander Plaats sent an email message to supporters regarding The Marriage Vow, making clear that the organization “has never made the claim, nor ever will, that slavery was better for families.”
Here’s the text of The Family Leader message:
I’d like to be perfectly clear…
The Marriage Vow is about setting a higher standard for marriages and families. This is precisely why we developed The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY.
Having presidential candidates and other leaders sign the pledge will provide Americans with evidence of a higher standard and model which will strengthen marriages, strengthen families, strengthen our economy, and strengthen our society.
Our critics are distorting the facts and misrepresenting The Marriage Vow. The preamble to the vow references relevant and sobering data which points to marriages and families being in crisis. The Family Leader has never made the claim, nor ever will, that slavery was better for families.
The organization has also decided that the pledge document shouldn’t be limited to only presidential candidates. On its website there is an opportunity for anyone who wishes to do so to note support for the pledge, which no longer contains the controversial reference to slavery.
A video posted by The Family Leader to take on the critics about the controversial slavery statement actually begins with Vander Plaats repeating nearly identical language to what has now been removed from the pledge:
Candidates who have stated their support for the pledge are U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. There are now five candidates who have wholly declined — Cain, Pawlently, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and GOP political strategist Fred Karger.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hasn’t come right out and said no, but did say during appearances in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids Monday that he thought some of the language needed to be changed or removed — something Vander Plaats has said will not happen.
An email message Tuesday from the campaign of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul spoke exclusively of the debt-ceiling negotiations and did not mention the Iowa document.