(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
It's important to believe that words speak louder than actions. That's what it takes to believe in Gingrinch.
I promise to be faithful, this time, if you elect me President? Is that what he is saying?
"ACTIONS speak louder than words". Evangelicals, will you really choose Newt to be the standard bearer for your values??? The Democrats will love taking over as the party of "family values" if he wins.
We need Ron Paul!!!
Fidelity, what else. Newt is not trustful.
Didn't he already promise this to his first, and second wives?
Is an oath of "personal fidelity" different from an oath of "marital fidelity"? Must be.
Newt....the name say's it all.
First time for everything.
Let's just take it at face value. I mean... why would he lie?
Newt will soon be shopping around.
Newt's "pledge" is proof positive that he will say or do whatever it takes to get elected. I'll bet that he ha his fingers & toes crossed when he made the pledge!!!
Interesting that the country is so concerned with gay marriage. I have been with my wife for 20 years happliy and legally married for 2. Seems lesbians can be more faithful than an GOP candidate.
Are you Republicans really buying this crap out of Newt Gingrich's mouth?
He promised this in his vows to his first two wives.
How did that go??
That would be a difficult pledge but as you age...it is possible
Ones without sin can cast the first stone.
Yet another pledge? This time he means it? The circus is getting weird.
Let him keep talking. Right into the ground.
Take his marital pledges with a grain of salt. Newt like clinton will make a good president but such a husband is another thing.
Doesn't Newt realize what an embarrassing mistake he just made? He had to promise not to commit adultery anymore to get Christians to vote for him. Newt has now publicly branded himself with the Scarlet Letter.
Read my lips....NO NEWT PLEDGES!!
A politician making a pledge during a campaign? Yeah, sure, I'd believe that!
Newt, you're 68 years old, buddy. Why start now? There's a saying about old dogs and new tricks ..and I'm not believing your Bravo Sierra one iota.
A Gingrich win as the nominee, will assure a Obama win by a record landslide.
I love how character now matters with you liberals when it didn't mean a thing with Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy..