Family Leader Under Fire Over Slavery Comment in Marriage Defense Pledge

Jul 11, 2011 2:36pm

ABC News' Amy Bingham reports:

After two presidential candidates signed onto a pledge supporting traditional marriage values, the pledge’s sponsor retracted a part of the vow that suggested African-American children were better off under slavery.

The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative activist group, removed a sentence Saturday from the introduction of their “Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” that said: "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.”

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was the first to sign the pledge Friday followed closely by fellow candidate Rick Santorum.

Whoopi Goldberg was outraged by the pledge on Monday’s The View saying the slavery reference was “a stupid allegation.”

“You don’t know anything about how slaves raised their kids or why people work together,” Goldberg said. “Just don’t add stuff like that if you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

A Bachmann spokesperson told Politico Saturday that the congresswoman only signed onto the “candidate vow” portion of the pledge, which has no mention of slavery.

"In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible,” Bachmann’s campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart told Politico.

Bachmann “stands behind the candidate vow – which makes absolutely no reference to slavery." Stewart added.

The candidate vow portion asks signers to reject same-sex marriage, uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, outlaw pornography and reject anti-women Islamic Sharia law.

Santorum said politicians should vow to be faithful to their wives, as the first provision of the candidate vow states. Those who are not faithful cause people to “disrespect and disregard members of Congress,” Santorum said in a Sunday interview on CNN.

“When I first read it I was taken aback. I can’t argue that I wasn’t, but I understand why they’re saying it,” he said. “If we can’t count on you to be faithful to those closest to you how can we count on you to be faithful to those of us you represent?”

Bachmann’s campaign was immediately available for comment.  

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Santorum campaign said the senator thinks the Family Leader did the right thing by removing the slavery passage and questions why more people are not signing on to the pledge.

"Senator Santorum was pleased to sign the Iowa Family Leader's pledge because he is committed to standing up for traditional marriage," said spokesperson Virginia Davis in a statement. "The bigger question here is why aren't more Republicans having the courage to stand up for the institution of marriage and signing this pledge."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus