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Rep. Michele Bachmann was first in line to sign a new pledge affirming her belief that gay men are a public health risk, that gay parents are inferior to straight parents, and that homosexuality is a choice.
Family Leader announced Thursday that it would ask candidates to pledge to ban same-sex marriage via a constitutional amendment and to sign a statement backing up the list of antigay statements, and the Minnesota congresswoman signed it on the same day.
Bachmann is contending for the lead in Iowa in many polls, and Family Leader is a powerful force in the state. The group is run by Bob Vander Plaats, who has compared same-sex marriage to the dangers of secondhand smoke. He also led the successful campaign to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court justices who legalized gay marriage in the state.
The pledge -- titled "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family" -- is a stringing together of myths. For example, a footnote on "human mortality" claims nearly half of gay and bisexual men won't reach their 65th birthday. But the journal that released the study, based on research conducted during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has said in a statement issued 10 years ago that the information is regularly taken out of context by "homophobic groups" and "we do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group."
In this case, the study and other stories make up the logic for banning gay marriage. A spokesman for Bachmann toldTheDes Moines Register, "She has been married for over 30 years and has a strong marriage and faith," and so she signed without hesitation.
The pledge makes a point in emphasizing each candidate's own marriage as an example to others.
"We acknowledge and regret the widespread hypocrisy of many who defend marriage yet turn a blind eye toward the epidemic of infidelity and the anemic condition of marriages in their own communities," the pledge states.