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MANCHESTER

'Repeal gay marriage, Perry says'

He pushes conservative bona fides for Cornerstone

Presidential candidate Rick Perry praised the legislators working to overturn New Hampshire's same-sex marriage law last night in Manchester.

'As conservatives we believe in the sanctity of life. We believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage,' Perry said. 'And I applaud those legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, realizing that children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father.'

As he spoke at the annual banquet for Cornerstone Action, a conservative advocacy group, Perry sought to set himself apart from others in the field as a candidate with an unwavering pro-life background.

'For some candidates . . . the issue of life is a slogan for the campaign. It's how to get some votes,' he said. 'To me it's about an enduring principal that innocent human life should be protected in all forms and at all stages of life.'

As he addressed the nearly 450 in attendance last night, Perry said that as governor of Texas he supported the requirement of parental consent for minors seeking abortions, helped ban third-trimester abortions and signed a budget that pulled funding from Texas Planned Parenthood.

'Unfortunately this current administration has since provided one million dollars in federal grant money to Planned Parenthood in direct conflict with this state's policies. And the bottom-line is this: If you want to stop Washington's many violations of the 10th Amendment . . . then we must make President Obama a one-term president,' Perry said, eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd.

Much of Perry's speech centered on the tax plan he unveiled Tuesday, which would allow Americans to either remain on the current system or opt for a 20 percent flat tax. The plan, which the campaign has dubbed 'Cut, Balance, and Grow,' also includes personal accounts for social security as well as sweeping reductions to spending.

'That little plan I just shared with you doesn't force the Granite State to expand your tax footprint, if you know what I mean. Like a 9 percent expansion,' Perry said with a laugh, referencing candidate Herman Cain's tax plan, which includes a 9 percent sales tax.

Bruce Reeves of Manchester said after Perry's remarks that the governor's stance on issues like abortion and gay marriage have fully informed his decision to support him for president.

'It's more instinct. I think it's from his heart. . . . His issues are really derived from his own belief system,' Reeves said. 'It's not something he's adopted to meet a certain political point.'

Earlier yesterday Perry officially entered the New Hampshire primary by filing for the race at the Secretary of State's office.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or tnadolny@cmonitor.com.)

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