Behold, the power of NOM, the National Organization for Marriage.
Newt Gingrich announced on Friday that he supports a constitutional amendment to “protect” marriage. This was the same day he signed NOM’s ani-gay marriage pledge.
Yes, this is the same Newt Gingrich (who has been married three times, wanted to talk divorce terms with his first wife in her surgical recovery bed so he could move on to the second wife, and hunted Bill Clinton for infidelity while cheating on his second wife with his mistress who’d become his third wife) who is now concerned with, er, protecting marriage.
Newt’s pandering to the primary electorate isn’t surprising, but there are a couple of interesting takeaways.
First of all, NOM has proven themselves as a major power broker in Republican primaries across the nation. They have gotten every major (and a few minor) Republican candidate — Romney, Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, basically everyone except for Ron Paul — to sign their pledge. They have successfully brought their brand of bigotry out from the fringe in state battles front and center to the heart of the Republican party.
Second, it’s interesting how mainstream the demonization of same-sex marriage is being played in Iowa of all places, one of the handful of states where it’s been legal for a few years now. The bigotry isn’t being soft peddled or hidden. Rick Perry is advertising his bigotry as a sign that he’s “strong.” Bachmann is telling gays they do have the right to marry…people of the opposite sex. (We have to wonder if she’d tell one of her foster daughters to marry a “reformed homosexual.”) Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who once curried support from gay constituents, doesn’t seem the slightest bit embarrassed to have signed NOM’s pledge.
But Gingrich’s support is the most brazen. He seems unashamed to bash gays who want to be married given his, shall we say, tenuous personal history with the institution. It seems like the kind of move that could open him up to further scrutiny about the skeletons trapped in his closet. Maybe he was worried that his $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s didn’t prove his loyalty enough to wife number three, or that having Abba’s “Dancing Queen” as his cell phone ringtone made him personally suspect, and so he needed to dump on the gays in official NOM style to prove himself Republican enough to carry the GOP mantle.