ThinkProgress filed this report from Pella, Iowa.
Thrice-married and twice-divorced Newt Gingrich — who addressed the FAMiLY Leader’s presidential forum this morning — isn’t prepared to join Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum in signing the group’s controversial 14-point “Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage’” pledge. Vow 1 states, “Personal fidelity to my spouse.” Gingrich suggested he and his staff are urging the LEADER to make some changes to the document:
REPORTER: Have you signed the FAMiLY Policy Center pledge?
GINGRICH: No, we’ve talked about it. Vince Haley, who’s my policy director, is gonna work with Bob and others to work through some things.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed to Hotline that the former House Speaker told Vander Plaats that they should work together to make some alterations. “We’re happy to work with you to sharpen it so people understand where we’re going with it,” Gingrich told Vander Plaats, according to Hammond. “It’s not there yet.”
The FAMiLY Leader does not believe that Gingrich’s past infidelities disqualify him from signing the document. “This vow and this pledge is not intended to beat any person up, any candidate up for their past,” Vander Plaats said last week. “It’s about looking forward to the future and embracing the authenticity of one man, one woman marriage and its impact on the family.”
Vander Plaats has already backed down from the document’s anti-porn language, saying that its restrictions against “all forms of pornography” should be interpreted narrowly and not be construed as a “nationwide ban.” The group has also removed a statement in the preamble of the pledge alleging that children born into slavery came from stronger families than today’s African Americans.
Gingrich and his associates have previously funneled $200,000 to Vander Plaats’ Iowa for Freedom group, of which Family Leader was a part, as well as other right-wing organizations within Iowa.