Under pressure, Pawlenty signs anti-gay pledge

After coming under heavy fire from anti-gay voters for refusing to sign a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage, GOP hopeful Tim Pawlenty has abruptly changed his mind.

On Aug. 4, Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney all signed the five-step pledge vowing to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court and to appoint Supreme Court justices who will “not invent a right to gay marriage.”

But Pawlenty turned down the request to sign it, prompting NOM to send out an e-mail instructing its anti-gay supporters to pressure the former Minnesota governor to sign the pledge.

“If you live in Iowa, please call up Tim Pawlenty’s campaign manager in Iowa and ask Pawlenty to sign NOM’s marriage pledge,” NOM’s chief Brian Brown wrote in the e-mail. “I know you will be polite and civil. But he needs to hear from you that marriage is not just one of many issues; it’s a key issue as you consider voting for the presidency in the first of the nation’s caucuses, in Iowa.”

The strategy worked. Pawlenty’s campaign quickly shifted gears and apologized to NOM, blaming the whole thing on a misunderstanding.