Newt Gingrich Says He Can “Accept” Legal Civil Marriage Equality

No typo in this headline. Buried in a wide-ranging interview the former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich gave to the Huffington Post is this little nugget (emphases mine):

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.

Folks, this is Newt Gingrich. You know, the man who oversaw the passage of the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act,” the guy who demeaned married same-sex couples in lifelong committed relationships as mere “friends,” pledged to advance a constitutional marriage discrimination amendment as President of the United States, and funneled $200,000 into the successful effort to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices whose ruling allowed LGBT couples the freedom to marry in that state.

And this is the man who now says that he will be able to “accept” legal civil marriage equality.

Now, do I think Newt has had a sudden change of heart on this issue? Of course not, and his comments in the interview reflect that. But, like every other sane person, he can see that despite his best efforts, marriage equality is going to happen. And he understands that if the GOP wishes to remain relevant to future generations, the party is going to have to make its peace with the reality of same-sex couples legally marrying each other.

But still, such a concession from one of America’s most unapologetic homophobes is huge news. Talk about waking up and smelling the coffee! If this isn’t an indicator of how stunningly far we’ve come in the battle for LGBT civil rights, I don’t know what is.

Originally posted on

John Becker

John Becker is an LGBT activist, writer, and blogger who has played a critical part in a number of high-profile victories, including a successful international media campaign that resulted in Apple dropping a “gay cure” iPhone app, and a sting operation in which Becker went undercover with hidden cameras at the clinic co-owned by Marcus and Michele Bachmann and exposed them for offering fraudulent “ex-gay” therapy. Becker has appeared as a guest on major news and political shows including ABC's World News Tonight, Nightline, and Good Morning America; NBC's Today Show; Fox's Alan Colmes Show; MSNBC's Ed Schultz Show and Live with Al Sharpton, and the Associated Press Television Network. He and his work have also been mentioned in notable newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.

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2 Responses

  1. Sorry Will. I am not as kind as you. Newt is still a freak and a homophobe and that will not change. He is an irrelevant clown and his opinion does not matter.

  2. John Becker says:

    Hey, Bob! Thanks for your comment! This is John — I’m actually the author of this article, not my dear friend Will.

    In any case, I don’t at all disagree that Newt is a homophobe. I said as much in my article: this isn’t a change of heart on his part, but an attempt to adapt to an emerging but undeniable political reality and to *remain* relevant.

    I couldn’t disagree with you more, however, in your assertion that Newt’s opinion doesn’t matter. The man was a top-tier presidential candidate and is for many Republicans an intellectual leader of the party. Of course, us non-Republicans would *never* call Newt an intellectual, but that’s what’s irrelevant here, not Gingrich’s shifting stance on this issue. The fact is that this man is widely respected in his party and has a large audience, who will take note. That alone is incredibly significant and, in fact, matters a great deal.

What do you think?