Seeking to revive his troubled presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to have returned to a tactic he’s often used in the past: pandering to far-right groups that demonize gay families and promote intolerance and discrimination toward other favorite targets.
The Des Moines Register’s political news website reports that Gov. Perry has signed a controversial marriage pledge promoted by the far-right group Family Leader in Iowa. So far U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum are the only other Republican presidential candidates who have signed the pledge, although Newt Gingrich’s campaign has indicated that the former U.S. House speaker will also sign it.
ThinkProgress notes part of what the pledge says about gay people:
“The pledge likens homosexuality to polygamy, adultery, or polyandry and asks candidates to vow that being gay is a choice that poses serious health risks like ‘shorter life expectancy.’
But the pledge is insulting to more than just gay Americans. One Republican presidential candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, has called the measure “offensive,” “unrepublican” and a “promise to discriminate”:
“In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting.”
Last summer Family Leader dropped a particularly incendiary part of the pledge suggesting that African-American families were better off when slavery was still legal. The deleted section read:
“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American president.”
In any case, it’s hardly surprising that Gov. Perry has signed the pledge. His anti-gay record is well-known in Texas. In August, for example, he asked the anti-gay hate group American Family Association to organize his prayer extravaganza in Houston. He has even suggested that gay veterans returning from the war in Iraq should maybe live somewhere other than Texas. So as he falls further behind in the polls, Gov. Perry has once again placed the banner of prejudice and intolerance at the front of his campaign.