Herman Cain Becomes Fifth Presidential Candidate To Refuse To Sign Family Leader Pledge

Jul 13, 2011 5:28pm

ABC News' Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) reports:

Presidential candidate Herman Cain on Wednesday became the fifth GOP presidential contender to decline to sign a conservative Iowa group's traditional marriage pledge.

Although Cain is making a strong play in Iowa where the group, The Family Leader, is based, he said in a statement that while he supports the organization's "commitment to supporting traditional values" his own position "encompasses their values without the need to sign the pledge."

"I stand firmly with the Family Leader and share their vision and commitment to supporting traditional values in American society. I am, and will continue to be, an ardent defender of traditional marriage and will work to preserve and protect the sanctity of human life, which I believe begins at conception," Cain said in a statement. "While I commend their intent regarding the pledge, I believe my stated position encompasses their values without the need to sign the pledge."

In taking this position, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO joins four other presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson — who have all declined to sign on to the pledge that includes a vow to support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, equates same-sex marriage with bigamy and polygamy and calls on candidates to promise to be faithful to their spouses, among other requirements.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was the first presidential candidate to sign her name to the pledge, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Candidates Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have not yet made a decision about whether to sign it. Gingrich said he won't do so with its current language. His campaign is working on an amended version of the vow that they will present to the Family Leader.

The Family Leader recently came under fire because the original version of the vow seemed to suggest that African-American children were better off under slavery than they are now. The group was forced to retract that line over the weekend.

ABC's Amy Bingham and Arlette Saenz contributed reporting.

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