Slavery language removed from group’s marriage pledge for candidates

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

An Iowa conservative Christian group last week essentially asked presidential contenders to say black families were better off during slavery.

That's right.

"THE FAMILY LEADER," a group run by failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, last week solicited GOP presidential candidates to sign a pledge attesting their support for traditional marriage, entitled "The Marriage Vow--A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family" as the first step in potentially earning their support for 2012. Social conservatives Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum quickly signed on.

But after the public had a chance to examine the complete document, outrage ensued over multiple provisions, including one that reportedly stated the following:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.

CNN reports that the language included a citation to a document entitled: "The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans: A Comprehensive Literature Review" from 2005.

On Saturday, Bachmann's campaign denounced the slavery claim, telling Politico that the congresswoman had only endorsed the "candidate vow," portion of the document, which did not include the offending language.

"She signed the 'candidate vow,' " campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said. "In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible."

Bachmann's camp reportedly forwarded a message from Family Leader later Saturday confirming that the slavery language had been removed from the full document.

"After careful deliberation and wise insight and input from valued colleagues we deeply respect, we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued, and such misconstruction can detract from the core message of the Marriage Vow: that ALL of us must work to strengthen and support families and marriages between one woman and one man," the group's officials said in a statement reported by multiple news outlets. "We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow."

A spokeswoman for Santorum told CNN Monday that he was "pleased" to sign the pledge, but agreed with the group's decision.

"Senator Santorum believed it was the right thing for the Iowa Family Leader to remove the language from the preamble to the pledge about slavery," Virginia Davis told the cable outlet.

Most of the criticism over the weekend had been aimed at Bachmann, who is regarded as a stronger candidate than Santorum and has captured a polling lead in Iowa.

Remaining passages in the marriage document continue to roil the left and others for suggesting being gay is a choice and other language concerning homosexuality, families and a ban on pornography.

[You can read the full, updated pledge via the Family Leader: here.]

Other popular Yahoo! News stories:

• Confirmed! Americans are happier on weekends
• Obama: Time to 'pull off the Band-Aid' on debt talks
• Drunk, unemployed actor trashes Letterman's studio