by Dan Rafter for HRC

Gingrich – who oversaw the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act – urges GOP to stop fighting against marriage equality

In an interview with the Huffington Post, former Republican presidential candidate and House Speaker Newt Gingrich made remarks indicating he and other GOP leaders should embrace civil marriage equality – the latest sign of powerful momentum for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality this year. Gingrich served as Speaker of the House in 1996, when the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed into law.
 
“Newt Gingrich reflects the experience that has changed the minds of so many Americans in understanding that LGBT people are a part of every family and community – including his own,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “His evolution resonates with people on a very personal level and is a quintessential example of why momentum is on the side of equality.”

Newt Gingrich is just the latest of those who once opposed marriage equality to evolve to a position of supporting the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry. David Blankenhorn, the star witness against marriage equality in the Proposition 8 case, has had a similar change of heart. As another sign of progress, the Mormon Church, which was the largest funder of Prop 8, sat out this election cycle and remained silent in the four victorious marriage fights.

In addition to last month’s marriage victories at the polls, Americans are continuing to demonstrate their support for equality in overwhelming numbers. In fact, support for marriage has increased 21 percent in just eight years – a remarkable shift in public opinion over a short period of time. As more LGBT people share their personal stories, Americans – including an increasing number of Republicans like Gingrich – are joining the ranks of equality supporters. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former First Lady Laura Bush, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Ted Olson, former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, and Paul Singer are among those in the GOP who support marriage equality.

“Gingrich’s recognition that Americans now overwhelmingly support marriage equality draws a sharp contrast with the few extremists continuing to fight against equality,” added Griffin. “Gingrich’s comments give other Republican leaders the room to do the right thing and embrace marriage equality – which is reflective of the fundamental conservative principles of freedom and individual liberty. The six million LGBT people who voted this election cycle, along with the decisive victories we secured across the board, make clear the direction in which our country is heading.”