Conservative Group Removes Slavery Line from “Marriage Vow” Pledge


After public outcry about a line in their “Marriage Vow” pledge that made controversial claims about African American children perhaps being better off during slavery, the Family Leader apparently decided to drop that line over the weekend.

The conservative group’s vow, which Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed shortly after it was released last Thursday, called on candidates to reject gay marriage, pornography, and Sharia law. But perhaps the most controversial line in the pledge was one claiming that “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.” After the line drew criticism on Friday, the group decided to drop it from the pledge. Via Politico, here’s the group’s explanation:

“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. “We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow.”

The new version is now posted here, but we’ve saved a PDF of the old version for posterity. Bachmann and Santorum are the only GOP 2012 candidates to sign the pledge—and both did so with the controversial line included.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.