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5 of 8 GOP candidates sign pledge for marriage; Gore, Bradley decline

WASHINGTON (BP)–Five of a declared field of eight leading Republican presidential candidates have pledged to uphold “the sacred institution of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman” and to oppose attempts to define it to encompass homosexual relationships.
The Presidential Candidate Pledge on Marriage was drafted by Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, a family advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., and 14 other groups that support traditional families. It was submitted to the candidates at the Iowa straw poll Aug. 14.
Gary Bauer, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Alan Keyes signed the pledge. Former candidate Dan Quayle also signed the pledge but withdrew from the presidential campaign Sept. 27.
Republican candidates George W. Bush, governor of Texas, Elizabeth Dole and Sen. John McCain of Arizona have not yet signed the pledge.
Democratic candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley refused to sign the pledge. Libertarian candidate Harry Browne and independent candidate Robert C. Smith have not signed the pledge.
The signatories pledged to “vigilantly defend this age-old institution against any effort — judicial or legislative — to redefine it to include same-sex relationships.”
The pledge also said, “I will oppose all judicial and legislative efforts to place children in homosexual households, which are motherless or fatherless by design.”
The pledge, unveiled in a two-page ad in the Des Moines Register just prior to the Iowa GOP straw poll, is sponsored, in addition to Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and other organizations, by the American Family Association and Straight From the Heart.
Bill Horn, publisher of Straight From the Heart, a pro-traditional values newsletter, pushed Bush to make a firm statement about homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption and lifting the ban on homosexuals in the Boy Scouts, issues until recently Bush had been vague on.
The Bush campaign sent Horn a statement explaining the Texas governor’s position.
“Governor Bush believes marriage is between a man and a woman and therefore does not believe in gay marriages,” the statement said. He also opposes adoption by homosexual couples because “he believes children ought to be adopted in families with a man and woman who are married.”
Bush believes a recent New Jersey Supreme Court “was wrong” when it struck down the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays in the organization, the statement said, noting, “He believes the Boy Scouts is a private organization, and they should be able to set their own standards.”
Horn told Conservative News Service, “This is a good start, although there are a couple of other things we want answers on, including his views on the gay agenda in public education and on domestic partner laws allowing benefits for partners in a gay relationship.
“The homosexual lobby has been touting Bush as one of theirs, but obviously he’s not — he doesn’t support their extreme views.”
Horn said all of the Republican candidates except Dole and McCain have answered the group’s questions about homosexuality.
In the same Conservative News Service article, a spokesperson for Dole said she “doesn’t answer surveys or take pledges that might tend to put words in her mouth” but said Dole opposes homosexual marriage and adoption.
Speaking during the Human Rights Campaign’s anniversary dinner in Dearborn, Mich., Oct. 2, Bradley gave his views on homosexual rights, including same-sex marriage. An ABC News on-line article about Bradley’s comments to HRC, the country’s leading homosexual political organization, said the views of the former New Jersey senator and professional basketball player drew loud applause.
Bradley said using the word “marriage” for same-sex unions would be a mistake that would keep them from being approved by states, according to the article.
“I will not call gay union marriage, but I will respect them and I will work to see that same-sex couples receive the property, insurance, immigration, tax and rights enjoyed by various others,” Bradley said.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, had trouble understanding the slow response by some of the candidates who are trying to present themselves as people with strong family values.
“As I talk with people of faith, I find little, if any, comprehension of an acceptable reason why any candidate seeking to be a ‘pro-family’ candidate would hesitate to take this pledge to uphold ‘the sacred institution of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman,'” Land said.
There is no social or public policy issue which is of more concern to Southern Baptists and other people of faith than the radical homosexual rights agenda, Land said. The homosexual agenda “is being foisted upon them by the efforts of radical homosexual activists and the often weak and ineffective response of their political leaders,” he said.
“Nothing symbolizes that concern more than the assault on the institution of marriage through the efforts of the radical homosexual activists to both devalue the sanctity of marriage and to affirm and normalize their homosexual lifestyle through gaining marital status for same-sex relationships,” Land said.
Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, said, “It seems a shame that it’s taking campaigns who say they’re pro-family so long to respond to a simple pledge. If they’re not going to sign it, they should be forthright about it and say where they disagree.”
In an on-line statement at the Presidential Pledge home page, former professional football player Reggie White reminded readers of the strength of the homosexual agenda and the importance of marriage and family as God established them.
“When I spoke to the Wisconsin legislature and said what has been accepted for thousands of years, that homosexuality is a sin — and folks I didn’t make that up, that’s from God — I saw the beginning of the wrath of the politically correct crowd,” White said.
“When I said that marriage is a sacred institution and should be recognized, not twisted, by government, I experienced the full wrath of the pro-homosexual community,” White said. “I merely expressed biblical views that many compassionate people still believe today, and I was demonized.”

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  • Steve Achord