Conservative Group Removes Slavery Line from “Marriage Vow” Pledge

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest