from The Omaha Herald published on July 13, 2011.
Bob Vander Plaats, known to many as kingmaker of the Iowa caucuses, finds himself in a national brouhaha after trying to link the gay marriage debate to the stability of African-American families during slavery.
Vander Plaats and his anti-gay marriage group, the Family Leader, has been condemned by comedienne Whoopi Goldberg and others for raising the spectre of slavery in a pledge circulated among GOP presidential candidates.
Two Republicans signed the pledge — Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. Both have since distanced themselves from the slavery statement. Bachmann says she did not read the pledge’s preamble, which contained the reference to slavery.
That language has since been removed from the pledge, which also asked presidential candidates to remain faithful to their spouses and recognize that married people enjoy “better health, better sex and longer lives.”
…National pundits and others already say Vander Plaats and his group exert “powerful” influence in the caucuses. They also might believe that he speaks for most Iowa Republicans, when he does not, said Jeff Angelo, a former state senator and a member of Iowa Republicans for Freedom, a GOP group that supports gay marriage.
“It really makes my political party … look out of touch with a broad base of voters,” said Angelo, who lives in Ames.
He also questioned how Vander Plaats or anyone could make the claim that children born into slavery had stable families. Slaves were treated like property, and their owners did not care about keeping families together when buying or selling slaves, said Angelo.
“It was such an outrageous statement to make,” said Angelo. “It is horribly insensitive.”
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