GOP Says I Don’t To Family Leader Pledge

A ‘Marriage Vow’ That Brought On a Divorce?

Earlier this week, we introduced you to the FAMiLY LEADER, a radical Iowa group with extreme positions against gays, Muslims, porn, and single parents, among other things. The group had played a key role in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses, and most 2012 candidates had been cozying up to the group and its leader, Bob Vander Plaats.

No more. In just a few short days, most GOP presidential hopefuls have walked away from the group’s extremely controversial pledge. Since signing the pledge was a prerequisite for getting Vander Plaats’ endorsement, it seems that his nod may not be that important after all.

And, adding to the group’s woes, it is not just “liberal critics” objecting to its extreme pledge. Conservative Iowa Republicans are also on the war path.

Local and national media have also taken note of the group’s no good, very bad week. Politico wondered aloud if Vander Plaats was now a “diminished leader” and proclaimed, “Family Leader marriage pledge falters.” Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register asked, “Does pledge trouble damage Family Leaders’ credibility?

Here’s a rundown of the action that appears to be bringing the group down.

2012 Candidates Just Not That Into Extreme Pledge

Notable Quotable: National Conservatives Attack FAMiLY LEADER

Conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker:

The Family Leader and other similar groups may go about their lives as they choose, but they’re busybodies by any other name, and their hour of strutting and fretting upon the stage surely must be about up

Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin:

…an overwritten, badly constructed document…the pledge has become an embarrassment.

Notable Quotable: Iowa Republicans Attack Family Leader

Iowa GOP activist and blogger Craig Robinson:

I think the Family Leader marriage vow has been a huge distraction…a pledge that is obviously not well thought out.

A “disgusted Iowa operative” speaking to the Washington Post:

[The pledge] is not the work of a kingmaker but a troublemaker.

Another Iowa Republican who told the Washington Post that the pledge is “kooky”:

I’m a very conservative person. But I would never sign a pledge with ‘etc.’ in it. I would never sign a pledge with 17 footnotes.

Hometown Newspaper Savages FAMiLY LEADER

Today’s Des Moines Register dropped a blistering editorial savaging the pledge:

“The Marriage Vow” from Bob Vander Plaats’ Family Leader is especially odious. The 14-point vow is a manifesto on the group’s definition of marriage — one man and one woman living in marital fidelity. And it commits candidates who sign it to govern in a way that supports American families who meet that definition to the exclusion of all others that do not meet that ideal.


Especially troubling is a jarring statement in the preamble suggesting that black children were better off under slavery. That line was removed after it created an outrage among critics, but the staggering slander against African-American families cannot be erased.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

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Learning malpractice reform lessons from abroad.

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Advocacy Team