Newt Gingrich, the failed GOP presidential candidate, says the Republican Party, and he, will have to accept “gay relationships will be legal, period.” The former Speaker of the House says that he and the GOP will have to accept the difference between “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state.” Gingrich made the comments — a tremendous departure from his previous positions — yesterday to the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein:
“On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion,” Stein and Jon Ward write at the Huffington Post. “While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state” — the latter being acceptable.
“I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with,” he said, noting that the debate’s dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. “It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.”
Stepping back from the political, Gingrich noted that he has a personal stake in the gay marriage debate. His half-sister works at the Human Rights Campaign. He has gay friends who’ve gotten married in Iowa. The man who once compared same-sex marriage to paganism is now worried that the Republican Party could find itself trapped in a bygone era on the matter.
“I didn’t think that was inevitable 10 or 15 years ago, when we passed the Defense of Marriage Act,” he said. “It didn’t seem at the time to be anything like as big a wave of change as we are now seeing.”
Indeed, Gingrich, a thrice married serial adulterer himself, was the Speaker of the House when DOMA — the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages — passed and became law.
Gingrich was also prosecuting Bill Clinton’s impeachment while having an extramarital affair of his own.
And to be clear, it’s the acceptance of civil same-sex marriage most or all LGBT organizations are advocating for. No one is trying to get the Pope to preside over same-sex wedding ceremonies.
“I believe that marriage is between a man and woman,” Gingrich said just a year ago in September. “It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know.” [Bolding ours]
Then, in January of this year, Gingrich doubled down:
“It’s pretty simple: marriage is between a man and a woman,” Gingrich told a group of radical religious right extremists on a conference call. “This is a historic doctrine driven deep into the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and it’s a perfect example of what I mean by the rise of paganism. The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization.”
Also in January, Gingrich referred to same-sex couples as “friends.”
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