Last night during a speech in Philadelphia, former House Speaker and potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R) was confronted about the contradiction of opposing marriage equality while repeatedly disregarding his own marriage vows. The former speaker seemed to suggest that the real victims of intolerance are Christians, before going on to say that the mistakes he has made in his private life are irrelevant in the larger public policy debate:
ISABEL FRIEDMAN: You adamantly oppose gay rights… but you’ve also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second… As a successful politician who’s considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?
GINGRICH: I hope you feel better about yourself…the fascist behavior I described was an older woman wearing a cross and I think if you go back and read the news accounts, it was explicitly fascist behavior and if you look at things that have been done to churches, it’s explicitly fascist behavior and frankly if you look at the recent tearing down of the cross in Mojave Desert, in my judgment, that is the kind of anti-religious behavior [...]
I’ve had a life which, on occasion, has had problems. I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that their primary concern. If the primary concern of the American people is my past, my candidacy would be irrelevant. If the primary concern of the American people is the future. They have to decide who can effectively get us to a future in which we are economically prosperous, military safe, and maximize freedom. That’s a debate I’ll be happy to have with your candidate or any other candidate if I decide to run.
Watch it (via Towleroad):
The hypocrisy of Gingrich’s answer is hard to bear: he’s suggesting that his private sexual transgressions have no effect on the larger policy issues facing the country, while holding the position that same-sex marriages threaten American families and must therefore be outlawed.
Gingrich has previously claimed, “There is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it.” He has described Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to overturn Proposition 8 as “an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife.”
In an interview with right-winger John Lofton, Gingrich claimed, “you have to” believe “homosexuality is a sin,” adding, “I think that if you believe the Bible then it’s fairly clear.” Though he said he didn’t “want to be judgmental about others,” Gingrich stated he opposes the right of gay people to marry or adopt children.