Newt Gingrich: presidential bid, or just stoking for more anti-gay dollars?

Newt Gingrich: presidential bid, or just stoking for more anti-gay dollars?

Educated people who know someone gay are often the most likely to stand up for gay people and support their right to be treated the same as everyone else.

Not so with Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the House, who has a Ph.D in history and a half-sister who is gay, has taken a leading role in opposing equal rights for gays.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Gingrich was a key player in last November’s campaign to oust three supreme court justices in Iowa. The three justices voted to uphold the state constitution’s equal protection clause with regards to same-sex marriages.

Gingrich also found $200,000 in seed money for the effort and one of the campaign organizers told the Times, “It wouldn’t have happened without” Gingrich.

The other irony not lost on the LGBT community, of course, is that Gingrich himself is on his third marriage. He had his wife by his side Thursday when he announced he was creating a website to raise money to “explore” a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

But at least some political observers believe Gingrich is just stoking the presidential bid speculation to keep conservative money flowing into his coffers.

MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow told her viewers this week that “he’s faking it,” nothing that his non-profit group has spent $13.8 million of the $14.5 million it raised in 2010. Maddow said Gingrich isn’t announcing a campaign or an exploratory committee because that would invoke strict campaign funding rules.

But the Christian Science Monitor quoted aides to Gingrich as saying the potential candidate has various business entities that he has to make sure are untangled in any campaign organization. But even the Monitor suggested that “Thursday’s semi-announcement could just be a way of drawing out the media coverage of the possible GOP candidate’s intentions.”

One thing seems clear: If Gingrich does decide to run, same-sex marriage will almost certainly be a front-burner issue in the 2012 presidential primaries.

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