Iowa marriage pledge drops reference to slavery

July 11, 2011

WASHINGTON (RNS) An Iowa-based conservative Christian organization has
removed controversial language about slavery from a pledge to uphold
traditional marriage that the group has asked GOP candidates to sign.

The Family Leader's "Marriage Vow" originally included language in
its preamble that implied that black children had better family
conditions during slavery than today.

"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," the statement read, according to Fox News.

In a statement released to Fox and other news outlets, Bob Vander
Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader, said reaction to the
language prompted its removal.

"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," he said.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., signed the pledge, but campaign
spokeswoman Alice Stewart told Politico that the candidate was signing
the "candidate vow" and "in no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann
believes that slavery was horrible."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., was "pleased" to sign the pledge
and agreed with the removal of the slavery language, campaign
spokeswoman Virginia Davis told CNN.

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