(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."
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Thank goodness for male menopause... it makes commitment to such a pledge possible for Mr. Gingrich.
Moral appeasement is an unforgiving swine.
I've got $10,000 that says he's already cheated on his current wife. So does his pledge mean he'll at least quit cheating on her?
Hasn't he already pledged fidelity three times before??? Oh yeah, and he was twice proved to have violated that pledge.
I believe he has pledged fidelity at least three times already. His record speaks for itself.
The way Gingrich has run his campaign is a microcosm of the manner in which he would most likely run the country... in debt and with very little internal organization or unity. Is this really what America needs right now?
Not too hard of a pledge. Even I'd pass on that one. Geez. Look at him.
Of course he can be faithful now - the old codger probably hasn't had it up quite a few years.
If evangelicals believe Newt they are dumber then I thought (if that's possible)
about half (or over) of the people in this country are divorced...this is like telling kids there's no santa claus.
Would anyone even want to do Newt? Yuk.
or prince on a white horse.
Can he spell the word?
Adultery is a serious character flaw. But twice? Hurting people like that is evil.
I suppose Christianity is about forgiveness and this was his baptism.
And I promise to stop robbing banks if I get your support! Please forgive me of the first two hold ups, but the money just looked so tempting. I am reformed now, I barely even look at money these days.
It's a secret Mormon conspiracy. Gingrich is actually a mormon and has mutliple wives. He is going to hook up with Romney and they will have two Mormons on the ticket bypassing the Evangelicals. It is all one big conspiracy and phallic symbol.
A little late for that.
I can't think how anyone in the right "sound" mind could feel comfortable voting for Newt Gingrich.
another republican pledge, will they never learn?
Stop, stop, you're killing me, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA
Didn't be promise fidelity each time he got married?
Democrats answer to everything, TAX THE RICH, TAX BUSINESS
I have chosen to remain single, but have cheated with several of your wives! BWAHAHAHA!!!
Thank you for your liberal charity!!
Proving once again that conservatives cannot function without a ready supply of juvenile cheap shots and zingers supplied by Uncle Rupert's propaganda network. Now run along home, Mom will have a nice dinner waiting for you after you clean out your basement room. By the way, did you bother looking for a job today?
Cheat on ex-wife while she undergoes cancer treatment = unforgiveable
I see Newt Gingrich but I hear Herman Cain.