Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim DeMint has added another group to his list of people who should not teach in public schools--unwed pregnant women. While defending his comments that public schools should not hire openly gay men and lesbians, DeMint told the Aiken [S.C.] Standard for Wednesday editions that teachers should be held to a higher moral standard.
During a debate Sunday with Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, DeMint agreed with the state GOP platform that openly gay men and women should not be allowed to teach in public schools. Tenenbaum and DeMint are competing for the seat held by retiring U.S. senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings. "I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman, who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend, should be hired to teach my third-grade children," DeMint said. "I just think the moral decisions are different with a teacher."
DeMint campaign manager Terry Sullivan told the Associated Press on Tuesday night that the candidate's comments were "clearly an out-of-context quote."
"Jim is a product of a single-mother family," Sullivan said. "His brothers and sisters were raised without a father. The congressman is absolutely not saying he's opposed to a single mom teaching."
Several gay activist groups--including the Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization of gay conservatives--have called on DeMint to apologize for his comments during the debate, but campaign officials said the candidate stands by his beliefs and there would be no apology. DeMint, if elected, does not plan to work toward barring openly gay teachers, campaign spokesman Geoff Embler said.
Tenenbaum called DeMint's comments during the debate "un-American." Her campaign did not return a call Tuesday night from the Associated Press about DeMint's comments on single pregnant women.