August 30, 2011 ( – After arriving late into the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry is emerging as the Republican front-runner. Last week’s Gallup poll put him in a double-digit lead ahead of Mitt Romney.

Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now say they favor Perry for the party’s nomination, compared to 17% who support Romney. Ron Paul came in third at 13% and Michele Bachmann fourth at 10%.


As the polls swing in his direction, Perry has been strengthening his credentials as a social conservative.

The Susan B. Anthony List announced last Wednesday that he had become the seventh Republican Presidential candidate to sign their Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.

SBA is calling the pledge a “minimum standard” for a pro-life president. It stipulates that candidates will nominate only non-activists judges and executive appointees, and will support pro-life legislation, including the de-funding of Planned Parenthood

“Governor Perry has been a long-time friend of, and leader for, the pro-life community,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “His signature on our pledge is more than welcome and we applaud him for his commitment to continue to fight for women and unborn children.”

The SBA’s pledge has been signed by Bachmann and Paul, but not by Romney.

Perry also joined Romney, Bachmann, and former Sen. Rick Santorum in signing the National Organization for Marriage pledge on Friday, committing to support for a constitutional amendment which would define marriage in the United States as a union between one man and one woman.

Perry’s stance on the issue had previously been the subject of controversy, after he couched it as a state’s rights question in comments to a group of GOP supporters.

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” the Texas governor said.

He later back-peddled, explaining to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed.”

Despite making a similar statement in which he called abortion a tenth amendment issue, Perry has received praise from some pro-life leaders for legislation that he has supported in Texas.

He recently fast-tracked and then signed into law a bill requiring women to receive a sonogram and wait 24 hours before having an abortion. The law goes into effect this week, but has been challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights. A federal judge is expected to rule on it this Thursday.

To find out more about Perry’s record on the life and family issues read Part I, Part II, and Part III of our special report: Who is Rick Perry?