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."
Gay relationships are already legal, of course. And advocates for marriage equality have been hammering away at the distinction between civil marriage (a right) and getting married in a church (a rite). And there are plenty of churches that will marry same-sex couples... but we never hear anyone speak up for their religious freedom.
But it's nice to see Gingrich—America's favorite twice-divorced, three-times-married Catholic convert—finally accept reality: gay people exist, gay people have relationships, gay people have families. Here's hoping Gingrich's fellow Catholic convert Brian Brown accepts reality sometime soon.