Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledging to oppose same-sex marriage and advance a constitutional marriage amendment.
Perry joins front-runner and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in signing the pledge promising to defend traditional marriage.
The pledge lists five commitments concerning the natural understanding and legal definition of marriage.
The first commitment is to support passage of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. That position marks a change for Perry, who previously said that the legal definition of marriage is the states’ prerogative, while also opposing having one state’s definition imposed on another state.
“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me,” Perry told an audience in Aspen, Colorado on July 22.
“That is their call," said Perry. "If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”
Days later Perry further clarified his stance, saying that he opposed re-defining marriage and reiterating that the right way to protect marriage was at the state level.
“[I]t’s fine with me that the state is using their sovereign right to decide an issue,” Perry told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in a July 28 interview.
“Again, my comment reflects my recognition that marriage and most issues of the family historically have been decided by the people at the state and local level," said Perry. "That is absolutely the state of law under our constitution.”
However, in the same interview, Perry also said that he opposed allowing “liberal special interests” and “activist judges” to impose a definition of marriage on the states, broaching the possibility of using a constitutional amendment to define it.
“[T]hat is the reason that the federal marriage amendment is being offered, it’s that small group of activist judges, and frankly a small handful, if you will, of states, and liberal special interest groups that intend on a redefinition of, if you will, marriage on the nation, for all of us, which I adamantly oppose," he said.
Perry said that using a constitutional amendment to define marriage would protect states like Texas from having marriage defined for them.
“Indeed, to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas and other states not to have marriage forced upon us by these activist judges and special interest groups," he said.
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