(CNN) - Newt Gingrich stepped up his efforts to appeal to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa Monday by promising in writing to "defend and strengthen the family."
Gingrich, who has been married three times, specifically said he would "uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others."
Gingrich made the pledge to The Family Leader, a socially conservative group based in Iowa. The organization has its own Marriage Pledge that other 2012 White House hopefuls have signed, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Gingrich did not sign The Family Leader's pledge himself, but did provide a lengthy written response to the organization. The former House speaker said he was fully committed to defending traditional marriage, including enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act and supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman.
Gingrich also used his pledge to lambaste what he called an intrusion of federal courts in the private lives of Americans, saying the phenomenon "amounts to a constitutional crisis."
In a statement accompanying Gingrich's pledge, Family Leader President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats welcomed the former House speaker's commitment.
"We are pleased that Speaker Gingrich has affirmed our pledge and are thankful we have on record his statements regarding DOMA, support of a federal marriage amendment, defending the unborn, pledging fidelity to his spouse, defending religious liberty and freedom, supporting sound pro-family economic issues, and defending the right of the people to rule themselves," Vander Plaats said.
In November, the group said it had narrowed the list of candidates it might endorse to four: Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum.
Political observers have long questioned Gingrich's appeal to socially conservative Christian voters because of his multiple marriages. The pledge made Monday came after Perry questioned Gingrich's marriages at a Republican primary debate in Iowa Saturday.
Perry warned that a politician who was unfaithful to his wife might also cheat in other ways, adding, "if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important."
Gingrich took the criticism in stride, saying "I've made mistakes at times. I've had to go to God for forgiveness. I think people have to measure who I am now, and whether I'm a person they can trust."
Romney fires back, works to appeal to everyday Americans
With 3 weeks until caucuses, Gingrich remains on top in Iowa polls
Huntsman defector faults candidate's N.H. strategy
Gingrich challenges Romney to a bet
Republicans will say anything to get elected.
Like he really has to pledge fidelity. Who would be with him?
He should pledge fidelity to the American people, but he's already violated that oath before.
Signing a pledge that takes rights away from Americans and calling it freedom. Yep that sounds about right coming from a Republican.
And we can believe him, right? Not! I'm sorry he has no credibility!
Unless I'm sorely mistaken he's made the pledge of marital fidelity at least twice. But who's counting?
Now there's a unique angle. Elect me president and this time I won't cheat on my wife. Hilarious.
Isn't the horse already out of the barn?
Hasn't he already made that pledge three times?
and failed twice?
Presumably, he made a similar pledge to his first couple of wives?
A political stunt to get elected nothing more. Newt just says what the people want to hear but only is thinking of himself.
You make that promise before God when you take the marriage vow. Why do you have to pledge again to some political party. If you fail before God, he is the one who has to make judgment. I don't get the connection.
Yes, I do believe this time it is true as he is a 68 year old Grandfather ;-)
What a sad, sad state into which our political climate has fallen. Why? Partly because we demand no better. We will accept what is spewed at us because we have no time to bother demanding better for ourselves and this country. We just care that we get to WalMart and buy presents in time, and hope no one steals our credit card information in the process. And partly because we know no better. Ignorance abounds because too many of us were not properly educated. People fall into roles of parenthood, administration, clergy, mentoring and teaching without having sufficient moral composition to do right by those they affect, and the cycle continues to new generations. How to fix it? Educate yourselves. Realize each one of us has an obligation to him/herself and others to be enlightened to Right and Wrong, what life is about, and how to treat those around us. It doesn't require much, nor does it require a school, or religion. It requires attention, intuition, curiosity and some work.
Who cares, the evangelicals don't care about this. He's not Mormon, he's got their vote.
REALLY......If you believe that , well I've got some land for sale in Florida...
Well that horse has already left the barn twice, might as well close the door.
So, what he is saying, anybody can do what they what, and then when they run for president that can say they won't do it anymore. What happened to consequences for one's actions.
No, this time he REALLY means it.
Why is he signing a pledge to a select group of people? He is running for President and is supposed to represent all of the people of this country not just a certain segment of the population.
I'm sure this is a great comfort to his first two wives.
I can't wait for Newt or Romney to become the Republician nominee this will become an electoral landslide
Yes he pledges till he gets the nom., then loses to Obama, and then comes wife number 4.
Understanding, of course, that he's already made and broken that pledge twice now.
Didn't he promise personal fidelity 3 times already? What makes this any different? Also, a pledge is pretty lame...
The first two times he pledged fidelity took place in churches and those didn't stick.