Over the weekend Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and potential candidate for the GOP presidential ticket, told Bryan Fischer of the anti-gay American Family Association that he would stop what Fischer had already characterized as the “homosexual agenda” by being “pro-classical Christianity,” values he says the majority of Americans share — a sentiment likely to dismay many moderate and liberal Christians who find themselves burdened by association with the right’s rhetoric.
Gingrich went on to say that he was troubled by Catholic adoption agencies being “forced” to close because of gay rights protections that overrule religious rights.
Over the past few years religious institutions have decided to close affiliated adoption and fostering agencies due to their unwillingness to comply with local gay-inclusive nondiscrimination laws. In the case of the Archdiocese of Washington, for instance, the diocese refused to comply with the import of the District of Columbia’s legalization of same-sex marriage which meant that married same-sex couples wanting to adopt had to be treated the same as their straight counterparts. The agency cited its right to religious freedom of conscience and expression being infringed. Gay rights supporters cited that such agencies enjoy public funds and therein should comply with legislation dealing with how adoption proceedings are governed in the public sphere.
Gingrich also touched on the Obama Administration’s decision to no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in court because, when circumstances forced a review of the law, the Administration determined Section 3, that prevents federal recognition of married same-sex couples, to be unconstitutional.
On this Gingrich said: “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 is an argument that has, at this point, been well traveled but in short precedent is firmly on the Administration’s side. The president must enforce laws that Congress has passed and, in this case, will continue to do so until DOMA is repealed by Congress or overturned by the courts. An administration can, however, use its discretion on whether to defend laws it finds constitutionally suspect, as is the case here.
Gingrich also clarified statements that many had taken to mean he believed Obama’s declining to defend DOMA Section 3 was an impeachable offense — not so, Gingrich now claims.
Watch the video below:
The American Family Association (AFA) has been labeled a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) which highlights the AFA’s misinformation over LGBT rights. On its site, SPLC writes:
The AFA seeks to support “traditional moral values,” but in recent years it has seemed to specialize in “combating the homosexual agenda.” In 2009, it hired Bryan Fischer, the former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, as its director of analysis for government and policy. Taking a page from the anti-gay fabulist Scott Lively (see Abiding Truth Ministries, above), Fischer claimed in a blog post last May 27 that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” (Ironically, the elder Wildmon was widely denounced as an anti-Semite after suggesting that Jews control the media, which the AFA says “shows a genuine hostility towards Christians.”) Fischer has described Hitler as “an active homosexual” who sought out gays “because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough.” He proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior in another 2010 blog post and has advocated forcing gays into “reparative” therapy. In a 2010 “action alert,” the AFA warned that if homosexuals are allowed to openly serve in the military, “your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals.”
That a potential presidential nominee would even grant the AFA an interview would seem to suggest at least a willingness to engage with that kind of rhetoric, which is in itself a disturbing portent. It was recently revealed that Gingrich has also supported other anti-gay groups to the tune of $350,000, another red flag for many.
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Photo by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons