In what may or may not be a sign that the so-called Mayan apocalypse is nigh, Newt Gingrich on Thursday said that Republicans had to accept the “reality” of gay civil marriage.
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. 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.”
“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.”
This is a marked change from when Gingrich, in a 2011 interview, called marriage equality “a temporary aberration.”
Newt of course has in the past made some absolutely ridiculous statements regarding gay rights and gay marriage.
Horrible Things Newt Has Said About Gay Marriage:
Indeed, ahead of the 2012 presidential race Newt signed on, in part, to the Family Leader’s hateful “Marriage Pledge” in which he said he would “aggressively defend” the Defense of Marriage Act and that he would “support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.”
He didn’t stop there, vowing to repeal or block any reform to welfare or tax policy that attempted to level the inequity between same-sex couples and their heterosexual counterparts.
Gingrich also backed North Carolina’s Amendment 1 which amended the state’s constitution to codify a ban on gay marriage and all marriage-like partnerships, whether gay or straight. In a video recorded for the effort, Gingrich implied gay rights were a radical threat to religious liberty and urged voters to pass the ban at the ballot. Gingrich failed to mention that North Carolina already had a statutory ban on same-sex marriage.
Indeed, Gingrich put his opposition to gay rights at the very heart of his presidential nominee campaign, saying that he was “pro-Classical Christianity” (whatever that means) and would oppose the “homosexual agenda.”
He also said in a radio interview with a known hate group that he believed the Obama administration, after review, declining to defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was Obama flouting the law, saying “If there is a rule of law, it means that if the congress passes a bill and the president signs it, the president has the obligation to support and sustain the laws of the United States.”
This fails to recognize that there is a strong precedent, used often under the Bush administration in particular, of the federal government declining to defend that which it believes to be constitutionally suspect.
Gingrich has also previously referred to gay marriage as paganism, and said that gay couples could only ever be friends.
So what about this sudden change of heart? Does Newt fear the apocalypse is upon us? Probably not. But it does show how quickly his convictions can be changed by political ambitions. It also raises the question as to whether the wider Republican party will accept this reality.
The Huffington Post interview saw Gingrich go on to say he thought he may have done better than Mitt Romney in fighting Obama, and that he will be taking time out to analyze what went wrong during the last presidential cycle.