Gingrich, Surprised He Might Win, Signs NOM Pledg

Newt Gingrich, no stranger to anti-gay politics, has suddenly re-engaged in the war on marriage equality.

Last year, the former House speaker donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the successful effort to recall three of the Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled unanimously in 2009 that gay and lesbian couples there have a constitutional right to marry.

For much of 2011, however, candidate Gingrich has been on an extended book tour, regaling audiences, many of them outside of key primary states, with his pompous utterances.

As a sort of last man standing, however, he now finds himself toward the front of the GOP presidential pack — and pandering is urgently needed.

On December 15, Gingrich stepped to, signing the National Organization for Marriage’s “Marriage Pledge” apparently required of serious Republican candidates. The pledge, one of a flurry of discretion-surrendering promises the GOP field is rushing to make, commits the candidates to vigorously support the Defense of Marriage Act, push for a federal constitutional amendment outlawing marriage by same-sex couples and for repeal of Washington, DC’s equal marriage statute, appoint judges opposed to equality, and establish a commission to look into alleged incidents of harassment against NOM supporters.

In addition to Gingrich, NOM has hooked former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Gingrich has also signed on to a marriage vow from a Christianist right group, the Family Leader, which warns that homosexuality is a choice that threatens public health.

In an extraordinary appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this past Sunday, Gingrich vowed to ignore court rulings that he disagrees with and said he would consider allowing federal marshals to drag judges into Congress to answer for rulings the majority party found unacceptable.