Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has refused to sign a controversial marriage vow developed by the Family Leader, a social conservative group based in Iowa.
“The Marriage Vow- A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” opposes same-sex marriage, but contained a controversial section regarding black families and slavery in America leading Romney to his decision of not signing.
“Mitt Romney supports traditional marriage but he felt this pledge contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign,” said Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum, opponents of Romney in the Republican presidential campaign both signed the vow, but also had issues with the pledge since it contained an excerpt stating that black children had better family structures during slavery than they do now.
The Family Leader decided to remove the excerpt after losing support for the vow.
“Senator Santorum was pleased to sign the Iowa Family Leaders Pledge, because he is committed to stand up for traditional marriage. The bigger question here is why aren’t more Republicans having the courage to stand up for traditional marriage by signing the vow,” said Virginia Davis a spokesman for Senator Santorum.
Davis added: “With that said 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.”
Bachmann’s campaign also defended their candidate. “In no uncertain terms, Congressman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible,” said Alice Stewart a spokesman for Bachmann.
The excerpt causing the controversy reads, “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 then was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American president.”
The purpose of the pledge or vow according to the Family Leader “is to have on record the personal convictions of each presidential candidate as it relates to the issue of marriage. The signing of the pledge will be requirement for future endorsement.”
Regardless, the Romney campaign refuses to sign, and urged the Family Leader and other conservative groups to “keep it simple” when creating pledges like this in the future.