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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has joined U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in signing a pledge to uphold traditional marriage.

The pledge – initiated by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) – commits these 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls to a host of social conservative reforms.

Specifically, they agree to support a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, defend the federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” appoint judges who oppose same-sex marriage and the creation of a federal commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters.

“Many candidates say they support traditional marriage (like President Obama!) but three GOP presidential candidates today stand head and shoulders above the crowd as marriage champions, for their willingness to go beyond words to commit to concrete actions,” said Brian Brown, NOM president.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry – an aggressive opponent of gay marriage who is leaning toward a 2012 bid – is also expected to sign the pledge.

While we think several of this pledge’s provisions are ridiculous, we have no real problem with a ban on gay marriage. It’s political pandering, sure, but we don’t oppose it on principle.

Wait … what? Didn’t this website support the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell?” And don’t we repeatedly bash Bible thumpers for their sanctimonious moralizing?

Yes … and we’re not saying that a nationwide expansion of gay marriage is something we would spend a lot of our ink fighting.

But here’s the thing – if homosexual couples are already granted the same legal protections as same-sex couples (which is as it should be), then why is gay marriage necessary? In fact, isn’t “marriage equity” really an attempt to impose a new definition on an institution that a lot of people view as sacred?

We will continue to aggressively support gay rights and oppose those who discriminate against homosexuals … but at this point we’re not sold on the belief that “marriage equity” is a civil right.

Female bi-curiosity, on the other hand …